CRAMOND & BARNTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 16th February 2023 in
Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall
Present: John Loudon (Chair), John Howison (Vice-Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott (Planning Lead), Robert Bruce, Dianne Stein, James Hancock and Percy Feketey. In Attendance: Councillor Lewis Younie and another 6 members of the community.
Councillor Kevin Lang. Councillor Louise Young, Gena Wylie, Sally Chalmers and Hamish Barrie, along with notifications from a number of other community attendees.
John Loudon said that the period since the last meeting had been a busy period with engagement on several fronts, including the Cramond Inn, public toilets, the AMA Campus, roads and transport (and including the Airport) and the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils.
Approval of January 2023 Minutes
The minutes were approved subject to Robert Bruce’s name being added to the list of attendees.
John Loudon advised that he had written to Gavin Pope of Cala Homes to express his disappointment at the fact that the Cammo Meadows Hub facility had not been capable of being supported to be a community centre. He recognised that what had emerged, albeit a commercial enterprise in the form of a children’s nursery, was an amenity likely to be used by many families moving into Cammo Meadows and the other new developments.
John Howison explained why he had decided to step down from office as Vice-Chair of the CC. A role he had taken on when Andrew Mather was Chair and when issues close to his field of experience, including infrastructure and the Barnton Junction, Airport noise, and the developments and infrastructure around the Airport were at a stage where his inputs were of particular relevance. The development of the CC’s Local Mobility Strategy. Some progress had been made albeit on other matters the ever-shifting goal posts of CEC brought with them continuing uncertainty – other than delayed progress. The change in focus had inclined him to nominate Sally Chalmers as Vice-Chair. This was supported by John Loudon and Sally had confirmed she was content to take on the role.
PC Donald Macleod spoke to the report which had been circulated before to members (and a copy is attached to this minute). A more unusual incident was that concerning the purchase of and throwing of eggs at houses by youths. Not confined to the CBCC area but occurring elsewhere in the Almond area. The Police had spoken to the parents of some of the youths involved. More concerning was the incident involving fuel being stole from a car by way of a hole being drilled through the tank. There had been two other reports of this crime from elsewhere in Almond, plus one where such an incident had been brought to the attention of the Police.
Ian Williamson raised his concerns about the incidence of e-scooters and electric bikes in use in the area and across Edinburgh. Added to which was the more recent Highway Code changes which allowed for cyclists to use pavements in areas where the carriageway width was restricted making it more difficult for safe cycling. He acknowledged that the issue was not for local resolution. It was an example of technology advances outstripping the legal framework under which such “vehicles” could operate. He also suggested that any considerations about what “vehicles” could/should operate on roads should also decide about the legality of recumbent cycles on roads. He cited one who regularly cycles on roads around Cramond, Barnton and D’Mains who is so close to the ground he could pass under a coffee table. Yes, he has a small pennant flying on a thin metal post but he is still at high risk of not being seen.
Update on Cramond Inn
John Loudon advised of the contact he had had from Jacob Farr of Edinburgh Live about the Inn and about the resultant coverage of what had been regarded once as a much-loved community gem.
Ian Williamson advised that he understood that Humphrey Smith was interviewing a couple interested in managing the Inn. (After some to-ing and fro-ing, the couple have agreed to take up the positions and the Inn is scheduled to re-open later in March when some further internal works have been completed. Humphrey Smith has agreed to provide for a contactless option for payment – recognising the issues and distance to cash line facilities).
Update on TRO associated with Planned Care Home
John Howison provided a resume of the background to the promotion of the TRO, of the benefits it brought to the hitherto unrestricted parking problems along much of Cramond Glebe Road but of the visibility challenges which the Community had argued it had failed to adequately address, especially on Cramond Glebe Road at the planned point of egress from the planned Care Home. The appointed Inquiry Reporter had decided that these concerns were not sufficient to persuade him to find against the Council and the TRO – albeit he had stipulated that he expected the Council to monitor the impact of the restrictions once introduced.
Subsequently the CC had written about the detail of the Building Warrant and about the extent to which the planned and shared use pathway into/out of the Care Home was compliant with the Equalities Legislation. The reply had advised that the potential Building Warrant had not yet been sought. They would watch for it and assess the compliance with the standards but ultimately it was for the developer to assure compliance.
Background and details of meeting with Council officials covered in Report for February. Janes Hancock and John Loudon confirmed that they felt the meeting had been constructive and that the officials were fully understanding of the issues – and of the commitment of the CC to secure improved facilities. Some good progress had been made on the quick wins; James confirmed he would maintain contact with the officials to ensure similar progress on the substantive issues. Noting the whole car park at Cramond had been adopted and a plan showing Council ownership provided. The front had also been swept.
See the summary in the Report. Dianne Stein advised that she was enjoying attending the meetings and starting to learn about the key issues of concern, some of which were quite technical.
Edinburgh Airport – New Flight Paths and Potential Impact on Cramond.
John Loudon talked about the Edinburgh Airport Action Board and the involvement of Adam Cumming and of Bob Brough. Simon Rhodes and Gordon Robertson of the Airport had agreed to make a presentation to the Cramond Association at its meeting on 27 February.
First indications were that there would be no change to the direction and coordinates of the east bound departures, but the proposals did provide for a reduction in the height at which they would cross the Cramond foreshore and that the frequency gap at which they could be dispatched could be reduced from 2 minutes to 1.5 minutes. John Howison advised that the EACC was intended to be a critical friend of the Airport. Most recently passenger activity had returned to 76% of the levels pre-Covid (it was noted that while flights were up passenger numbers remained below pre-Covid levels. There had been an increase in the numbers of flights at night although it was explained that this was often down to delays and routing issues where aircraft were delayed in the wrong place. It was suggested that there continued to be issues regarding the availability of taxis at certain times.
Update on Brighouse
John Loudon described the continuing engagement undertaken by Penny and meeting with the schools, the Royal High Rugby Club and the Davidsons Mains and Silverknowes Association – as well as with further individuals who had contacted her. This opportunity still remained but time was running out for this information gathering stage and CC members and members of the community were urged to contact her if they had thoughts on the way forward.
Peter Scott reported on the continuing frustrations regarding the progress – or lack thereof – of the Barnton Junction CPR. After little contact over the last year – despite regular chasing – the latest “progress plan” effectively sees another year yet before clarity may emerge about what the CEC would wish to see in the area. Most recently the CEC was pointing to the need to review what may be emerging against the City’s Circulation Plan (as if this was a new development). The CC would consider submitting an FOI request about how much had been spent on the SWECO and Jacobs studies which now seemed to be obsolete. (The Chair had indirectly asked for this).
See the summary in the Report for the issues discussed at the Edinburgh Association of Community Councils meetings – and in subsequent exchanges with the Secretary of the EACC. The issues raised with Scott Arthur were all recognised by him as issues of concern and were firmly on his radar.
The note of the meeting with the Cramond Surgery (again see the Report) sparked a lively discussion. The seriousness of the findings of the Patient Satisfaction Survey could not be understated – regardless of the completion numbers being small. The more recent meeting and therefore engagement with the CC was to be welcomed but fell well short of the regular attendance by Police Scotland at CC meetings at which updates were provided of recent local activity and issues. The absence of any current Newsletter was not helpful, and reference was made to a possible exemplar Newsletter relating to a practice in the north of England. (Ian Williamson advised that the absence of a current Newsletter had been mentioned at the meeting with the Surgery and that he would amend the record to reflect that fact. It was a matter on the new Practice Manager’s to do list). It was suggested that such a document should include updates on local issues pertinent to the Surgery and might feature relevant statistics, including for example the incidence of non-attenders. On a specific matter of the increase in the frequency with which patients are presenting the Secretary undertook to check on the actual numbers – and whether this pattern is being experienced in other practices.
Some examples of good responsive interaction with the practice were provided. Also, some examples of the continuing uncertainty about the range of clinical support service and advice available, for example, at pharmacies. Access to the Surgery – and in particular the 8:00am stramash in search of an urgent appointment remained a key source of disquiet.
The Chair suggested that a small CC Clinical Sub-Group be established. The need to secure a more regular interaction with the Practice was accepted. Ian Williamson suggested that the next CC Newsletter might feature an abbreviated report of the recent meeting and that readers be invited to share their thoughts on issues and suggestions that would form the basis of future interaction with the Surgery.
Prior to closing on this item John Loudon reported briefly on the recent meeting held with Ben Ritchie of Lothian Buses. The key issues were as follows. A shortage of drivers, overall drop in passenger numbers compared with pre-Covid – albeit the rerouting of the service 41 had significantly increased passengers carried. Running cost increases. A commitment to increase the frequency of the service 43 was given – first stage in the Spring, second in the Summer. The plans for the extension to the route of the service 31 into West Craigs and the Turnhouse Road were also laid out – to take place once the new road lay out and junction improvements had been made. Lothian Buses had no current plans to support a south bound service from the Cammo Meadows hub. We were directed to take this up with Stuart Lowrie in the CEC to make a case for a subsidised service. The scope for changing the route of the service 200 to the Airport to provide for a south bound route along the Maybury Road was raised but dismissed by Ben Ritchie.
Councillor Younie advised that in the wake of the service 41 change earlier in 2022 Councillor Lang had met with Stuart Lowrie of the City of Edinburgh Council to discuss the scope for a south-bound service from the Cammo Meadows Hub. A survey of prospective bus usage was required to inform future service delivery.
Councillor Younie reported on what had been a busy month. On the issue of the state of the roads and the related concern about the shoddy pothole repairs Councillor Lang had promoted a motion demanding a value for money assessment into the processes being managed by the Council. In response to a question from Robert Bruce Councillor Younnie advised that the new JCB machine currently being used in some other authorities in Scotland was to be hired with a view to trialling its effectiveness in pothole repairs. If successful the Council would buy the equipment. It was hoped this would begin to turn around the City’s position as having the worst roads in Scotland – but the size of the task ahead could not be underestimated.
Members were invited to watch out for the outcome to the budget setting for the Council due to come out on 23 February. Not good news – very much a tightening of belts were in prospect.
A more positive follow-up had been received from SP Energy Networks to the electrical explosion that took place in Cramond Village in early November. Ian Williamson said it offered more re-assurance than before but there remained concerns in relation to the remaining manhole covers over electrical junctions elsewhere in the street. He would come back to the Councillor with more detail on what further re-assurance might be required.
Percy Feketey advised that of work that was due to commence in the coming weeks to drill bore holes into the escarpment around the Salvesen Steps. This was part of the work required to assess the structural viability of developing a tunnel as the means of delivering a disability compliant alternative to the Steps. Concern was expressed about the proximity of the work to some of the properties in Almond Vale. Letters were to issue to all residents in the coming days and the Factor for the Vale was on the case. At CEC official level it was unclear as to whether David Kyles or Martin Duncan was leading.
Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 16 March 2023