Secretary’s report for 19 February 2015

Salvesen Steps

The City Council’s Parks Development Manager is submitting a grant application to Sustrans for 50% funding support towards a detailed design and rock face study for the proposed replacement route cantilevered off the rock face. 

The Community Council and other community-based groups have written in support of the bid and are encouraging the Council to progress this essential project.

Local Development Plan

The City Council’s Planning Committee are due to discuss approval of the LDP on Thursday 26 February. It is at this meeting that the final decision will be made by the Committee on inclusion or otherwise of the Cammo and Maybury housing development sites. The Community Council have sought the opportunity for a deputation to address the Committee on its concerns over traffic and other implications of these sites.

The Community Council also intends to e-mail Committee members in advance of the meeting with our concerns. Should the Council continue to include the proposed sites within the LDP, these are likely to be assessed by an independent reporter from the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals, prior to Scottish Ministers approving the LDP.

Maybury Proposal of Application Notice (PAN)

Representatives of the Community Council and other local community councils were invited to an information meeting by the developers and consultants of the Maybury (Turnhouse Road) housing site.

Following an introduction to the proposals, discussion focussed on issues such as traffic generation and congestion, the location of the proposed new Maybury Primary School and community hub, inclusion of land within the green belt to the north of Craigs Road and provision of medical and other community services.

While the developers were ‘open’ about their intentions and problems they had been having regarding communicating with the Council over roads infrastructure, it is fair to say that they did not convince the community councils’ representatives that their proposals would resolve potential traffic and related issues.

The Community Council will be responding to the PAN with its concerns and suggestions for improvements to the proposals (e.g. more centrally located school and community facilities).

Proposed New House at 2 Inveralmond Gardens

Following representations from neighbours and Patricia Eason, the Community Council has put in a submission on proposals for construction of a new house in the gardens of 2 Inveralmond Gardens and 102 Whitehouse Road.

Concerns include – intensification of development within an established residential estate impacts on views from neighbouring residential properties, public roads and footways demolition of outbuildings, which comprise part of the Category C group of buildings at 102 Whitehouse Road potential damage to protected trees adjacent to the development site.

Cammo Home Farm Steading

The City Council agreed the sale of Cammo Home Farm Steading to Kamran Akbar In April 2014. Following the fire in 2014, the Council agreed to renegotiate the selling price. On 2 February 2015, the Finance and Resources Committee agreed a reduced price of £627,00 (inclusive of legal and surveyors’ fees) – £100,000 less than the original price.

The sale is conditional on the purchaser restoring the building, during which time it will be leased to Mr. Akbar, who will have the option to purchase the property once restoration is completed. Should the sale to Mr Akbar not be finalised, the Council will seek delisting of the building by Historic Scotland and consent of the National Trust for Scotland to enable the marketing of the property on the open market.

It is understood that the original net capital receipt for the property was around £400,000 (after deduction of legal costs) and that this is to be ring-fenced for investment in Cammo Estate. This capital receipt may now be reduced. The Community Council is keeping a watching brief on how the Council proposes to spend any such capital receipt and has suggested that any such funding should be part of a larger investment programme (e.g. alongside Lottery funds) to enable a planned, longer-term approach to the conservation and enhancement of Cammo Estate as a community amenity.

RNLI Signs at Cramond Waterfront and Promenade

City Council officials have been in dialogue with the RNLI in an effort to obtain advice about best practice when it comes to safety signage on Britain’s shorelines. Peter Scott and I met with Darren Wraight of the West Neighbourhood Partnership and Michael Avril of the RNLI.

We had a very constructive discussion about the desirability of trying to achieve the right balance between the need for very visible stark safety warning signs and the strategic objective of providing interpretation signage that is in keeping with the heritage of the area. A mutually acceptable solution is in prospect.

King James Statue

Representatives of the Community Council and Cramond Association met Ken Cooper, who is consultant to Justin Lamb Assocs., the developers of Braehead Farm. We outlined the community’s interests in the statue and some of its history, including uncertainties over its ownership. Mr. Cooper agreed to check on the title deeds. The developers have no plans or desire to move the statue and are required to protect it during construction works.

They may not be adverse to it being moved to a more visible location (e.g. Cramond Brig), but the community or Council would need to fund this. The costs of such a move would be high, given the care and effort required to move the statue and to protect it during any move and it is unlikely that the Council would fund such a project.

Airport Consultative Committee.

Our Chair represented us at the recent quarterly meeting of this committee. Points of interest were as follows. Since ownership has changed hands from BAA the number of long haul destinations available from Edinburgh has increased from one to four with a further one by Ethiad to Abu Dhabi to commence by this summer.

The new security hall is now in operation with upgraded equipment and a major extension to immigration facilities should be in place by this summer. These upgrades will speed transfer both into and out of the terminal building. Furthermore we were advised of increases to the “self check in facilities” and it was claimed that check in is now possible on average in less than one and a half minutes with a knock on benefit of reducing crowding in the check in area.

The manager of commercial activities gave a presentation primarily covering parking. It is of more than passing interest to note that from almost zero four years ago now 75% of parking is pre booked on line with substantial discounts on the “pay on arrival” rates. It is also possible to check in for your flight hours and hours in advance. You can, therefore, pass through security well in advance and spend lots of time shopping.

Bus Services to Cramond

The Chair will be meeting with Bill Campbell, Director of Operations with Lothian Buses on 19 February to discuss the Community’s concerns about the need to consider what improvements could be made to the bus service between the city centre and Cramond. Feedback on the meeting will be provided will be provided by the Chair.

The Action Plan

The City Council place significant store on the action plan process which is designed to provide a shared focus for identifying and addressing local service delivery issues. It provides a living list of issues for which the CC and the City Council have identified the need for action (or at least the requirement for detailed consideration about action/investment). It raises expectations about change and that is fine where change is delivered and within reasonable time frames.

The latest version disappoints and is not worth copying. It records some actions as discharged which have not yet progressed. On the other hand there are issues which have progressed and which are not so recorded on the plan such as the fact that the work to repair the wall around the public toilets has been completed – and to a high standard, or that there are now men and equipment on the promenade to begin the work to repair the harbour wall, or that bollards are being installed to prevent vehicular access on to the Cramond foreshore.

It is about as painful as the post-operative pain from knee joint replacement and having had one such operation last week I know what that pain is! On the bright side things can only get better.

Ian Williamson
Secretary
19 February 2015

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