CRAMOND & BARNTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 17th June 2021 via Microsoft Teams
Participating: John Loudon (Chair), John Howison (Vice-chair), Hamish Barrie, Kit Campbell, Sally Chalmers, Michael Dick, Percy Feketey, Jean Morley, Bert Scott, Peter Scott, Ian Williamson, Gena Wylie with Tom Wylie, Gary Cameron, John Skinner, Councillor Louise Young and Councillor Norman Work in attendance.
John Loudon opened the meeting by securing confirmation that there were no new potential declarations of interest to be intimated. Noting that this was his first entire meeting acting as Chair following his appointment at the May meeting, he said he was looking forward to enjoying the continuing support of Ian Williamson as Secretary and Gena Wylie as Treasurer (there being no other current members coming forward to take on these roles). He also welcomed the unstinting support from Peter Scott as Planning Lead and John Howison on Roads and Transport matters. He went on to confirm that the CC was running with one vacancy for an elected (or co-opted) member. That was nonetheless a very healthy position compared to some years earlier and it was agreed that time would be taken over the summer break to seek to attract suitable applicants keen to offer their skills and support to the CC.
Apologies had been received from Councillors Hutchison and Lang in addition to Tom Foggo.
Approval of May 2021 Minutes
The minutes were approved
There were no matters arising that did not fall to be dealt with under substantive agenda items.
Presentation of Annual Accounts 2020/21
Gena Wylie presented the accounts for 2020/21 noting that the retrospective way in which charges for the Hall were recorded accounted for the surplus showing in the account. Next year’s account would see the charges levied notwithstanding the fact that with Covid the Hall was not used for meetings. It was confirmed that the amounted which had come by way of grant relating to the work of the Airport Noise Advisory Board could now be spent on “other” CC priorities. Approval of the Accounts was proposed by John Loudon and seconded by Percy Feketey.
Ian Williamson introduced the Police Report. There was little by way of criminality apart from some ongoing issues arising from groups of youths congregating giving rise to some anti-social behaviour. The theft of high- end cars was an issue with the new electronic locking systems being susceptible to being overridden. IW undertook to check on whether the Report could be published on the CC website and Facebook page.
Roads and Transport
John Howison reported that he had made some adjustments to reflect comments received on the draft circulated in advance of the May meeting.
The document in turn provided a policy framework which could underpin and inform comments offered on transport policy and provision issues going forward. It was suggested that the paper could be more widely publicised before being adopted. It was however concluded that the document could be adopted as the CC current policy but acknowledging that it should be subject to periodic review in consultation with the community.
Peter Scott reported that he had received a reply from Dave Sinclair of CEC to the Community Council’s Community Participation request. With a process that had been going for in excess of 18 months including, most recently, a meeting which we had been striving to secure for 7 months the response now received was wholly unsatisfactory. While the Transport and Environment Committee had met earlier in the day it had not taken any decision on the closure of Cammo Walk to traffic nor on the trial closure of Cammo Road between Cammo Estate and Turnhouse Road. Notwithstanding it was becoming increasingly clear that the prospect of securing traffic lights at the junction of Cammo Gardens and Maybury Road was not favoured by the CEC and with that the prospect of severance for less confident and assertive drivers amongst the 400 plus households was increasingly likely. The Chair agreed to reflect further on how to handle the latest developments.
Kit Campbell was thanked by the Chair for all the work he had conducted in shaping options for the way forward following the City Council’s Development Management Committee meeting on 12 May. While the Committee’s focus was on a Good Neighbour Agreement what was more important at the outset was on securing agreement on a way forward. If we could not get the process of engagement established at the outset then we risked any prospect of moving forward. A meeting which had been held on 14 June had got as far as agreeing who/which organisations would represent the Community.
There followed a frank exchange of views and opinions about what it was that the “Community” should be seeking to secure by way of best use of the land in question. There remained a sense of deep frustration that the Community may be prepared to accept an outcome which was suboptimal and certainly one which fell far short of the original commitments given by AMA. How certain was the Community that it was not embarking on a course which would take it to secure outcomes which fell short of what people wanted? Cramond and the neighbouring localities “enjoyed” a dearth of grass pitches and the Brighouse site offered an opportunity to remedy that situation. Being satisfied with more informal playing areas seemed to fall short of that – and risked letting AMA off lightly. Councillor Young said her prime concern was the need to secure something definitive out of AMA which bound them in to a solution that was sustainable and which did not risk the company coming back again in the future to seek permission for further residential development on the site.
Kit Campbell focussed on the work which he had led in drilling down into the costs attaching to various sports uses of the ground including how these costs changed depending on the nature of the surface to be used. While grass may intuitively be the surface of choice for many the economic case was very unfavourable (linked in part to the limited use which could be made of the surface due to weather). Peter Scott reminded all present that the CC had carried out a leaflet drop of all of the households in the Brighouse Estate and those who shared their boundary with the Estate. It was the feedback from that, CC meetings and the CC’s Facebook site which had informed the basis of the solutions now being developed. But these would not preclude the discussions with AMA from looking at a range of other options but the ongoing affordability of any preferred option would be an overriding factor.
While in the real time of the meeting the discussion than moved on to the Secretary’s report the Cramond Inn and the GP’s Surgery for the purposes of the record what follows covers two other small planning matters covered by Peter Scott. The plans for 35 East Barnton Avenue (the Old Parsonage) had been scrutinised and the sensitive and attractive designs gave no cause for concern or objection. It was however pointed out that the building was on the site of the historic Barnton Castle and that a review of the old layout of the Castle may be indicated. On an application for what was described as new office space and an extension at 4 Glebe Road there were concerns about the illustrations and details reflected in the plans which made comment impossible. Further clarification has been sought from CEC planning officials. Peter also reported on a recent Civic Forum meeting which he had participated in and where a presentation made by the new Chief Planner in the Council had been heartening in terms of the vision being presented. The Council was now more sighted on the challenges caused by the proliferation of Air BNBs and student accommodation. Some of that direction of travel would have to change and there was a determination to secure a Living City Centre with more long term residential. Also, a need for community green spaces to be secured across the City.
Ian Williamson reported:
Ian Williamson reported on the latest planning application made concerning a boundary fence for the Cramond Inn. The need for such a fence had arisen earlier last year following concerns raised by the Licensing Standards Officer about the inability of the management to control access to the grounds – and to the beer garden – during Covid. The application made at the time sought the construction of a 2m high slatted ranch style timber fence. Approval given was conditional upon an archaeological assessment. It was earlier this year before that was carried out with the stipulation being that the fence posts should be placed in the locations of the previous fence posts – and that any findings be reported to the local authority archaeologist.
A new application proposes a fence post and wire structure topped by razor wire.
Also, the drawings lack clarity regarding the extent of the fence and following comments made by the Community Council – and others – further drawing and clarification is being sought. Meanwhile the Inn remains shut with little prospect of it re-opening in the near future.
Following the meeting which Ian Williamson and Gena Wylie had with the Cramond Practice back on 17 May the note of the key messages had now been agreed as an accurate reflection of the discussion. The detail of this may be found on the website with a bullet point summary on the CC Facebook page. A follow-up meeting would be arranged in the Autumn.
Councillor Work was looking into the concerns about possible loss of the blue boxes for re-cycling following suggestions from some householders in the Queensferry Road area that their boxes had not been returned after a recent pick-up.
Councillor Young confirmed that the Cammo Road and Cammo Walk issues had been referred up to Full Council.
Community Council Engagement (and How to Improve It)
John Loudon reported back on the CEC online training session he had participated in which had focussed his mind on the critical importance of social media in supporting and informing engagement. The CC had made good progress over the preceding 12 to 18 months despite the challenges of Covid. Arguably Covid had brought with to an imperative to use digital platforms. Either way the CC was now in a far better place now than it had been in terms of the media used for communication.
Sally Chalmers reported on the ways in which the CC was now communicating. TEAMs and ZOOM meetings, social media via Facebook with a coverage supported by some of the local partners including the Cramond Association and Friends of Cammo. Also, more recently the links to Cramond Neighbours. Further opportunities were available via Next Door and What’s App. The website was now more up-to-date but could perhaps benefit from a fresh eye to review and improve the layout etc. The Newsletters had been warmly received but vigilance was required to ensure that regular editions continued to be published. A place for hard copies remained as evidenced by confirmation of “passers-by” stopping at the notice boards – esp that at the Barnton shops. The offer of support to those who could act as editors was again made by Sally. Looking forward the prospect of 660 new householders in Cammo Meadows would bring with it a fresh interest in issues impacting on the area.
AOB and Closing Remarks
There was a brief discussion about future meetings and the prospect of Covid level 0 and what that would mean for the holding of meetings. It was considered speculative at this stage to try to pre-empt decisions. There was also the prospect of some members remaining uncomfortable at the prospect of public meetings and such choice would need to be accommodated.
Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 16 Sept 2021 at 7 PM via MS Teams