Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 16th Feb 2017 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott, Ross Wilkinson, Percy Feketey, Jean Morley, Alan Rust, Tim Mitchell, Bert Scott, Grant McCulloch and Marion Mitchell. A total of 27 people were in attendance including Councillors Norman Work, Alastair Sheilds and Lindsay Paterson.

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed those attending especially Bert Scott who had been particularly unwell and noted apologies from Gena Wylie and Paul McLaughlin.

Police Report

The police report was given by PC Aidan Douds. PC Douds confirmed that the report covered the calendar month of January 2017 and that, going forward he would make it clear to his colleagues that such a reporting period should always be used, in the interests of consistency. One ASBO had been served in relation to a vandalised car and a total of 9 crimes coming under the general heading of housebreaking (including housebreaking with theft and housebreaking with intent) across the CC area. Areas included Strathalmond, Cammo, Braehead and Whitehouse Road. In response to a question from the floor PC Douds confirmed that speed cameras could be calibrated to address the emerging 20mph limit. The paucity of the necessary signage on the Barnton Park Estate was commented on with the only sign being at the entrance – and none, thus far on the road surface.

Airport Report

The Chair provided a brief resume of the findings emerging from the report following Phase 1 of the public consultation. On the whole, it was disappointing and while some relief could be expected in relation to northerly take offs with the prospect of a more tightly controlled flight path over Lord Rosebery’s Estate to the Forth before banking east there was little movement proposed for inbound flights because of CAA policy. The Action Group was pressing for a 20 degree offset missing Cramond. Residents were encouraged to attend the manned event which was to take place in the Kirk Hall on 2 March between 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. A small margins variation could make a big difference to the amenity of the community.

Presentation on the Weirs

Richard Adlington welcomed Kate Comins to the meeting. A slide presentation followed covering an overview of the works on Fair-a-Far Weir. It was one of a number of capital projects being managed by the RiverLife Project Team for the River Forth Fisheries Trust with an expected budget of £6.9m over the period 2016-20. The aim of the Riverife Project is to reconnect communities and wildlife with their local rivers through a series of Capital Programmes as well as training, education and volunteering opportunities. It was acknowledged that early communication and engagement had not been as good as it should have been but lessons had been learnt and communication between the local community and the RiverLife team was now working well. Kate talked the audience through the repairs to the weir crest and the two flight fish-pass. Initially, the material proposed for the facings on the fish-pass were considered somewhat stark and not in keeping with the environment and the consultant’s had been asked to use more sympathetic materials. A meeting with Council officials was to be held w/c 20 February to agree how the contractors planned to take the work forward in a manner that would minimise disruption to those wishing to continue to use the walkway. This would cover access and the planned working platform that would be constructed in the river. Ecological mitigation work would be required as a matter of urgency to cover holes in the walls and bankings before birds started building nests. Some minor tree removals would be required – on both banks – and a meeting was to be held with Lord Rosebery’s Estate.

The mitigation works would be carried out during March with the site compound and access established in April. A communications plan was outlined including features such aa “Fish in the Class”, an updated contractor blackboard, opportunities for contractor-led site visits for Groups and weekly visits by River Life staff.

There were questions about access to the coffer dam and about the restoration of the access paths following the works. On the latter, Ms Comins said she would consider the need for a sealed path when she came to agree on the specification with David Kyles. She would come back to the CC following her discussions with David Kyles on this point. She advised that it was estimated that the works on the weir would cost around £0.5m. Provision would be included for a fish counter at the site. Money is available in the budget to undertake interpretation at the site which will be developed in partnership with the local community. This will not be progressed however until works have been completed at Fair-a-Far.

The prospects for Dowies Mill were far more disappointing. The existing weir was in a bad state of repair which has limited the available options for securing fish passage at the site. Outline design has therefore been progressed for removal of the weir at Dowies Mill. Significant concerns were expressed about the impact of scouring on the Cramond Brig which it was believed would occur should the weir be removed. KC confirmed this would be mitigated against as pat of the design work. The absence of any ongoing maintenance to the existing structure by CEC also served to heighten the risk. There followed an animated exchange about the terms of the options statement where in the absence of any reference to a reinstatement option any foundation for community engagement seemed tenuous in the extreme. Ms Comins clarified that the SEPA would not grant the necessary CAR licence to reinstate the structure (hence this option being progressed) and tried to assure those present that regardless of the terms when it came to the working through of the options the outputs would have to cover what mitigation works would be required to address such risks as could be anticipated in the event of the weir being removed. The current focus was very much on taking forward the Fair-a-Far replacement works. Ms Comins highlighted that it was vital that al parties waited for the design report to be finalised as then information on costs, mitigation measures etc would be available to inform discussions. It was agreed to hold a meeting with RFFT, CEC, and the Community Council in the Autumn to progress discussion on Dowies.

Salvesen Steps

Richard Adlington provided a further update on the saga of the Steps. Facilitated by Norman Work a meeting had taken place with Council officials (and the current Vice Convenor of the Transport Committee) In recent weeks. All of the local groups had been in attendance and FRAW supported by a former civil engineer who had carried out a detailed inspection of the wooden structure. This had challenged the Council’s assessment which had been that the structure was beyond economic repair and should be dismantled. Yes, some further repairs were indicated but the steps were considered to be capable of being repaired with the prospect of the life being extended by a further 3 to 5 years. A further meeting with officials to agree on a way forward was being arranged.

Planning Report

Peter Scott confirmed that following the January meeting where the proposed responses to the Council on a number of developments had been discussed the CC had submitted the formal responses to the CEC. These covered the Fair-a-Far Weir improvements; the development of two 2-storey houses in the rear garden of 5 Essex Road; and on the PAN applications involving residential and associated developments north of Craigs Road. Copies of all of these responses were being uploaded.

Councillors Report

Norman Work reported on the meeting he had brokered regarding the Salvesen steps. Along with the Vice-Convener of the Transport Committee, they had met with representatives of FRAW, the CBCC and the Cramond Association. The substance of the meeting is as described above. Alastair Shields reported on the concerns of residents living on and around Cramond Place as Marshall Construction progressed the build of the new Walkerhealthcare Home. Indiscriminate and thoughtless parking, noise, road surfaces let covered in mud were among the concerns. These issues had been taken up with the CEC and with the contractor. There had also been an incident were in pumping off excess water from the site they had caused black ice to form on the main carriageway and around the bus terminus. One of the residents had fallen injuring her arm.

Date of Next Meeting.

  • Thursday 16 March 2017

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