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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 16th January 2020 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present:  Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), John Loudon, Jean Morley, Bert Scott, Peter Scott, Percy Feketey, Tom Foggo, John Howison, Robert Bruce and Michael Dick.  Councillor Lang had given their apologies.   A total of 38 people were in attendance, including Councillors Hutchison, Work and Young. 

Minutes of November 2019 Meeting

The minute of the November meeting was approved subject to noting that John Loudon had been in attendance.  Also, the fact that the Chair had introduced Sally Chalmers to the audience as a prospective new co-opted member to the Committee.  A Strathalmond resident her presence would augment the representation from the Cammo area.  Her nomination was supported by Peter Scott and seconded by the Chair, and she was welcomed by the membership.  The formal process to co-opt was to be pursued by the Secretary with the Council.

Police Report

PC Sam Davidson provided the report for December for which the crime statistics were particularly low.  Apart from a few attempted housebreakings, there was little to report.  Some speed checks had been conducted on Whitehouse Road (and he was advised to ask that Gamekeepers Road be covered in future.  Michael Dick drew attention to concerns about possible scammers knocking on doors in the evening and masquerading as “Energy Efficiency Advisers.”   

Councillors Reports

Councillor Young having another engagement to attend, gave her report earlier than usual in the proceedings.   The City Choices Plan was going out to consultation, and the options for delivering Scottish Government target house numbers carried varying impact on West Edinburgh. The Mobility Strategy was also being released. 

All were invited to take the opportunities to attend the sessions that were to be held over the coming weeks.  Challenges continued with parking on Barnton Avenue North where despite the new parking restriction measures introduced last year, inconsiderate parking was causing problems preventing some residents from getting in and out of their driveways.  The clock was ticking on the AMA site blueprint.  She and Councillor Lang had carried out a site visit to the Cammo Fields development. 

The concern was to ensure that Cala and David Wilson Homes were responsible developers.  The Chair and Peter Scott were similarly engaged.  Concern was expressed at the difficulty in navigating the CEC website on various matters.  This was recognised although it was argued that some improvements were being made – e.g. in relation to the reporting of potholes and street lighting issues.   It was pointed out that there appeared to be a problem in the processing of TROs, including for road works.  The preparation works on the Maybury Road had begun without a TRO having been promoted.   

The Secretary raised the issue of the approach which had been made several weeks earlier to officials for an explanation as to what had happened to the proposed roads improvement project on the section of the Whitehouse Road from the Burgess golf club to the Queensferry Road.  This had been in a programme for 2016/17 but never progressed.  The reply from officials which had been offered merely confirmed the obvious – that it had not progressed.  Albeit it had said, the project was no longer in a programme.  Councillor Young asked to be kept in the loop of the follow-up it was agreed should be made.

Crosswinds Development

Planning Consultant Nicola Woodward was introduced by the Chair.  Her presentation covered the proposed new access road to the Airport and the Planned Crosswinds development. 

The proposed new road had been the subject of consultation over much of November and all of December.  The existing Eastfield Road access was operating at near capacity for much of the year and when the Royal Highland show was on the road, and those adjoining were regularly at gridlock.     

The presentation covered the many considerations that had been factored in by the Consultants in selecting the route for the new road including environmental, flooding, archaeology, air quality and others.  The road would be accessed at the Gateway Station exit on the Gogar Roundabout at the end of the bypass.  It would enable freight traffic to go to and from the Airport providing an alternative to the Turnhouse Road (the northern end of which would cease to be available to such transport when the planned new Turnhouse Road housing development was complete.  Transport appraisals were in process. The road would be singe lane initially but was to be built in a manner that would future proof it for further expansion should the Crosswinds development go ahead.  The current plan was for it to be operational by the summer of 2021.   

Their followed much discussion about why the road was to be built single laned given the pressure for the Crosswinds development.  What did the new road mean for the plan for freight traffic to use the Craigs Road to cut through the new Cammo Fields development and part of the Turnhouse Road development.  What of the demand that may come from the International Business Park should that proceed?  How were the expected additional capacity for the Edinburgh bound access from the Gogar roundabout to be funded?  If required, this was to be a call on the City Deal monies. It will be for the City Planners to assess the consequences of any resulting impact. 

Moving on to the Crosswinds presentation.  The site lies between the IBG site and West Craigs. They were sold by the Airport to Crosswinds Developments. A brownfield site.  This PAN engagement included communities as well as SEPA and Natural Heritage.  Any concerns of the latter bodies had been addressed.  Visual impact, heritage, ecology, flood issues and climate change positives all covered.  It was to provide a site for digital development attracting international investment, sustainability, low in carbon emissions, high-quality building standards (BREAM?? Outstanding). 

A mix of 1,2,3 bedroom flats – various models and including shared ownership.  5 to 6,000 new jobs could be created on-site with some 2,400 units to be built.  A mix of flats, commercial and hotels.  S75 development gain monies could be used towards the costs of roads changes which may be required around the Gogar roundabout and the A8 towards Corstorphine. Some on-street car parking capacity would be provided within the development, and perhaps a multi-storey car park would be provided, but there was a push towards the development being car light. 

Chairman’s Report

The Chair emphasised the importance of members and residents attending the forthcoming events concerning the emerging LDP or City Vision as it was now being called.  It was this document which set the overall planning backdrop for the Council for the next 10 years.  Inclusion in it was crucial for future prospective developments.  Local events were to be held at the Blackhall Library on 4 March between 4 and 7:00pm.  And again, during the same time slot at the Drum Brae hub on 11 March.    The plan would be the substantive item for discussion at the March CC meeting informing a CC response to the City’s consultation. 

Peter Scott spoke to the planning issues in the report which had been tabled.  And Ian Williamson spoke briefly to some of the Other Issues covered in the paper.  The substantive discussion was deferred to the February meeting.   (The Report is replicated below for the record and to inform discussion at the February meeting). 

A comment was made on whether the amount of time which had been devoted to the Airport access road and the Crosswinds development had been an appropriate use of the CC time given the other competing issues of substance.   

January Report

Planning Matters

Application 18/09541/FUL: Demolish house and erect 11 flatted dwellings. 

9 Barnton Avenue West, Edinburgh EH4 6DF (amended application)

  1. Principle of development: The principle of replacement residential development of an appropriate design and scale in this location is accepted.  The Community Council maintains its reservations regarding the scale and massing of this proposed development while accepting that it is well screened by mature vegetation from Barnton Avenue West.
  2. Recognition of amendments and reduced scale of development: The Community Council welcomes the amendments, which –
  • reduce the scale, density and visual impacts of the previously proposed 4-storey development
  • provide more varied facades and break up the stark visual appearance of the frontage
  • replace the fourth-floor penthouse flats with pitched roofs of more traditional style 
  • have considered concerns regarding site drainage 
  • increase the number of parking spaces and lessen the likelihood of on-street parking.
  1. Reservations concerning the proximity of the building to the western boundary: The Community Council has concerns regarding the proximity of the proposed development to the Barnton Brae boundary and proposed removal of mature trees along this boundary in the vicinity of the proposed new building.  However, proposals for the planting of heavy standard trees will mitigate some of the loss of screening.

Application 19/05524/FUL:  Proposed Outbuilding, 3 Braehead Road.

The Community Council has objected to this application, as the proposed outbuilding is significantly in front of the building lines of neighbouring properties on the north side of Braehead Road and as such would both be visually intrusive and set a precedent for other developments on such an alignment.  

In 2018, the CC objected to a previous proposal for a garden office on this site and this was subsequently removed from application 18/0696/FUL, before proposed modifications to the adjacent house were approved.

Application 19/05541/FUL: Replace 1 one-storey house with 2 two-storey semi-detached houses.  9 Barnton Park View Edinburgh EH4 6HH

CBCC has recorded strong reservations regarding the proposed building design and form, particularly in respect of the roof design and detailing.  Neighbouring houses have pitched roofs with dormer windows and are 1.5 storeys in height. Houses at 22-33 Barnton Park View have flat roofs but are set back from the building line of adjacent bungalows. The Community Council did not object to previous proposals for two 1.5-storey homes with pitched concrete slate roofs and dormer windows.  This new design, with its prominent block shape and flat roof extending in height almost to the ridgeline of the adjacent pitched roof homes, is inconsistent with the design and built form of neighbouring houses.  

Cammo Walk and Barnton Junction

In meetings and e-mail correspondence with Council officials and our assessments of planning applications, representatives of CBCC have been getting mixed messages from various officers as to the Council’s intentions over –

  1. Cammo Walk (i.e. closure to vehicles or retaining the south-bound traffic lane and creating a separate or segregated walking/cycling route).  Closure of Cammo Walk without traffic lights at the Cammo Gardens/Maybury Road junction will leave many residents of Cammo, Strathalmond and Lennymuir’ land-locked’, as less-confident/less-aggressive drivers use Cammo Walk instead of Cammo Gardens to travel southwards out of these residential areas, due to the inherent traffic dangers of the Cammo Gardens junction  
  2. Potential improvements to Barnton Junction to ease traffic congestion – in particular, widening of the traffic lanes on Maybury Road to ease congestion caused by Cramond-bound traffic queues blocking access to the Queensferry-bound lane on Maybury Road, as suggested in CBCC’s Barnton Junction Report and validated in Cala’s consultants’ report.  While we were led to understand in early-Summer 2019 that CEC staff were willing to appraise these proposals, we learned last month that this had been shelved and the Maybury Road Study was only looking at active travel improvements.  

For over five years, we have been pressing CEC staff on the above issues, without any clarity or success.  Consequently, CBCC has now initiated a Community Participation Request under the Community Empowerment legislation.  This will require the Council to actively engage with CBCC and report publicly on defined outcomes, which we have set for the engagement process. 

To back this up, we have also initiated a Freedom of Information request on the Cammo Walk situation (i.e. traffic surveys, risk assessments and discussions between CEC staff and the developers on future Craigs Road junction design, including Cammo Walk) and on cost estimates for improvements to Barnton Junction which we can set beside the s.75 planning obligation amounts required from Cala, as Cala appears to be being asked to contribute more than the costs of solely installing smart traffic lights and pedestrian/cyclists improvements.

Cammo Fields Development

CBCC’s Chair and Planning Representative met with staff of Cala and David Wilson Homes in mid-December for an update on the start of the development.  The developers intend to send a letter to households adjacent to the site outlining the proposed early programme of works and how boundary issues may be resolved, where properties have ‘creeped’ into the field beyond their legal boundaries.  This letter should be sent out before/immediately after the Festive Season. Notice boards will be set up in the northern corners of the site near Cammo Gardens, and Cammo Walk and these will be kept up to date with development programmes, etc.  A small liaison group will be established to liaise with the site managers only a regular (e.g. 6-weekly basis).  

Early works will include securing the site boundaries with Heras safety fencing and CTV cameras) and installing site offices, near the current entrance off Maybury Road.  Thereafter, priority will be given to infrastructure Installation (drainage, roads, etc.). We understand that house building along the northern edge of the site is unlikely to start until early summer.  

Cammo Walk will partially be closed for a period to enable the laying of water pipes into the site, but the vehicular passage will be maintained.  Maybury Road will be subject to partial closures for the installation of traffic lights at site entrances, traffic islands, etc., but two-way traffic flows will be maintained.

Cala’s development programme is likely to extend over 3½ years and largely relate to the northern portion of the site.  David Wilson Homes works are likely to extend over 4-5 years.

Other Issues

Bus Services

Our continuing efforts to secure further bus service to the area have, again, been thwarted following discussions between officials within the Council and operational officers at Lothian Buses.  The prospect of the number 13 subsidised service being tendered to gauge interest from operators in extending the route to the west and to include Davidson’s Mains, and Cramond was lost when changes were made to the route of the Lothian service 15 curtailing the eastern part of the route and resulting in any passengers on that section reverting to the subsidised service 13.   

Primary Health Care – and Care Homes Provision

Our approach to the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership has received a response which confirms two things.  First – the Partnership does conduct regular assessments of the demand for bed-based care in the community across Edinburgh.  It will engage with prospective care home providers and indeed can encourage the development of such homes where there is an assessed need, but it cannot block the development if the provider is inclined to proceed.  That is a commercial decision for the care provider to make.  The Partnership can also advise the planners about the likely primary care support available, but this cannot be used to refuse an application. 

Cramond Inn 

The Cramond Inn is operating again with a new management team who hail from Dundee.  Wullie and Pam Sorrie are a breath of fresh air and while there remain some challenges in balancing the expectations of bar customers of today with some of what are arguably more old fashioned policies of the Brewer they are striving to achieve an appropriate balance in implementing these policies.  They are still trying to recruit more staff as the Inn starts to attract back many of the lost customers.    There have been times when it has run out of beer – due to the sudden increase in numbers coming in over some of the holiday extended weekends.

Local Roads Issues.

A definitive reply remains outstanding to questions raised of officials regarding the local roads programme.  The proposed resurfacing of the final section of the Whitehouse Road (from the Royal Burgess Golf Club to the Queensferry Road) which was in the programme for 2016/17 had never been carried out, and the initial reply received merely advised that the project had not been completed – and was no longer in a programme.  I have gone back to ask why it no longer features and how this decision was made (and by whom).  I have also reminded them that an update on the Maybury Road project (in for 2019/20) was sought.   These programmes would have been approved at some point by the responsible Council Committee; if individual projects slip, or fall, then there should be a process whereby that goes back to the Committee with an explanation at the very least.  

Forth Crossing

Some of you may have noticed the article in the Sunday Post about the Forth Crossing, increase in traffic and congestion etc.  We were asked for a comment from the point of view of a CC on the route into town.  Below is the text of what I discussed with the journalist (in the form of an e-mail I sent to Andrew following my conversation.  Condensing what he was given has proven challenging to him.

“Following our conversation earlier today, I contacted this reporter to check whether what he had got from Keith Giblett of South Queensferry covered what he was looking for.  He said, not really.  What he was interested in was learning from those communities along the A90 Queensferry Road about whether they felt that the roads where they lived were more congested and were there more rat runs etc.  

I said that the issue was one which had been discussed on several occasions at the CC; that the CC had provided the CEC with a paper detailing various measures for improving the Barnton Junction (and therefore the flows of traffic through that.  I acknowledged that in so doing, we were offering means by which traffic might flow more readily through local roads – but that it was a pragmatic response to the reality of more traffic using the routes.  We continued to strive to work with the Council on improvement measures.  I said that there were local roads through the area which were used regularly as alternatives to the A90 Queensferry Road but that it was not possible to say whether they (and the A90) were more congested than before. 

I said that there did appear to be a stretching of the peak travel times perhaps reflecting the changes to the pattern of working hours for many with flexible working hours etc.  I exampled the change to Fridays where the “rush hour” home now began around 13:00hrs rather than closer to 16:00 or 17:00 as before.  He asked whether we felt that some form of congestion charging should be considered.  I said that we were aware that the CEC had revealed that it was going to look afresh at this (he was not aware of this recent revelation).   I said that I could understand why the Council were considering this again but that I felt they should also consider not just disincentives to private car travel but also incentives to travel by other means.  More bus lanes were a possibility but brought their own problems.  

I said that the Council might at least look at the case for passenger ferries from the Fife coast to Newhaven and/or Granton.  The former connecting to the proposed tram extension to Newhaven and the latter to optimise the option of a light rail link from Granton to Haymarket (in the blueprint for the new housing development in that area). We recognised that a ferry service had been tried some years ago but that there was now emerging the possibility of something more integrated.   The Transport Strategy was currently under review, offering an opportunity for Councils including Fife and Edinburgh to consider alternative connectivity options.  Looking to promote further industrial and commercial development out with Edinburgh would also help to reduce the unrelenting private car commuting pressures into the City.”

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday 20 February 2020