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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 17th May 2018 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Ross Wilkinson (Acting Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott, Percy Feketey, Jean Morley, Bert Scott, Michael Dick, Gena Wylie, Tim Mitchell and Marion Mitchell.  Andrew Mather had given his apologies as had Councillors Lang and Hutchison.   A total of 23 people were in attendance including Councillors Young and Work.

Welcome and introductions

The Acting Chair welcomed everyone to what promised to be a busy meeting with the consideration of the Cammo Fields planning application.  He took the opportunity to provide what was a very positive update on the health of the Chair, Andrew Mather following his recent brain operations.  He had been keen to attend but had deferred to the counsel of his wife.

The minutes of the April meeting having been approved the Secretary went on to pick up under matters arising the issue of the proposed TRO covering the planned Care Home at 18 Whitehouse Road.  The TRO which had been the subject of consultation earlier in the year and on which the CC had commented was considered to be incompetent in its current form and John Skinner had more recently provided a reasoned form of words explaining the reasons for this.  It also fell well short of providing a traffic management solution that was required to address the congestion and on occasion gridlock on the road.  This was illustrated by some videos which had been taken during the recent May bank holiday and which showed an ambulance stuck in traffic trying to get out of the Village.  It was agreed that the Councillors would be invited to use the form of words to draw to the attention of the Committee the serious shortcomings of the TRO.

Police Report

The police report was given by PC Sam Davison o behalf of PC Kelly.  There had been 17 crimes reported during the month of April in the area.  These included housebreaking and attempted housebreaking’s, vandalism, possession of a weapon, shoplifting and reset.  There had been several reports of youth nuisance involving including setting fires, breakings and scattering bottles and general disturbance.  Threats to staff at Tesco’s and the theft of alcohol.  Youths under night curfew orders who were ignoring the conditions and continuing to commit crimes was a recurring problem despite the spot checks on such youths. The community was encouraged to report incidents that took place in the locality otherwise there was a lack of awareness of the issues being faced.

Planning Report

Peter Scott provided an update on the application which had been the subject of discussion at the last meeting believing it to have been approved concerning 597 Queensferry Road.  (A subsequent update corrected this report which was slightly premature).  He had scrutinised an application concerning the Barnton Park Tennis Club concerning the change of use of one of the courts into a new paddle racquet court.   Tim Mitchell a close neighbour of the club said he would have no concerns about the proposed change of use.  The use of floodlights in the evening was not an issue of concern.

Before moving on to the main planning business, that of the Cammo Fields application Peter informed those present of the need for him to declare an interest in this application because of the direct way in which it impacted on him as a resident of Cammo Grove with a garden which backed on to the proposed site.  Governance guidelines required him to make such a declaration and to offer to stand aside as the lead CC member of the matter if that was the will of the CC.  The subsequent discussions conclude that there was no current member better placed or informed than Peter to lead on this for the CC and that he should continue to lead the preparation of the response to the application.   Councillor Young re-affirmed this stance as being acceptable on the basis that as long as the response represented the views of the CC and that fact was minuted and recorded then due governance was assured.

Peter set the scene for the consideration of the application by going over the history of the process which had led to this point.  This began with the 2010 SES Plan and the identification of the assessed need for 2700 houses in West Edinburgh.  He went on to describe the LDP and Main Issues Report which drilled down to the 500 to 660 houses for the Cammo site. The LDP had been adopted following review by the Scottish Government Inquiry Reporters.   The lesson to be learnt from the efforts that had been made to reject the application covering Turnhouse and West Craigs was that once a development is included in the approved LDP the scope for any successful objection to the development is past and achieving mitigation of impact and/or securing any necessary infrastructure investment is the best that can and should be planned for.   Thus, while the Cammo Fields development is one which the CC has been and continues to be against the reality is that we must now focus on getting the best development we can that has the least impact achievable and that commits the CEC to ensure that any required infrastructure is provided, and to an acceptable timetable.  One of the critical aspects of the development was considered to be the traffic impact and the CC with support from two senior roads engineers had prepared a paper on the Barnton Junction which offered a number of proposals for mitigating current and future impact expected from this and other related developments.  Our Councillors had been very supportive in striving to try to get the relevant officials and Committees to give full and proper consideration to the contents but there is a risk that we are dealing with people in Waverley Court who can’t see/won’t see believing that the residents of the proposed development will walk or cycle and will not add to the traffic impact in the area.

Peter then took the audience through a variety of slides to help illustrate the design and layout of the proposed Cala/David Wilson development.  (Copies of these will be uploaded on to the CC website).    These covered the site lines to Maunsley Hill and the Water Tower, location of the bus service and transport loops around the site, location of crossings, the proposed walking/cycling route running alongside Maybury Road and the houses fronting on to the road.  Landscaping, Allotments, the variety of house types and heights, sustainable drainage systems, the provision for two traffic lanes each way on the Maybury Road, the community facility at the north end.   He also described the plans for the landscape buffer area to the northern boundary running parallel to Cammo Grove.  A mix of rowan, larch, cherry and birch trees would all feature.

There followed a detailed discussion about boundary issues – again concerning the area where the northern end of the site abutted houses and gardens on Cammo Grove. Cala were offering to be flexible on the matter but some encroachment had occurred over the years and more than a gentleman’s agreement would likely be required in circumstances where house owners on Cammo Gardens came to sell their properties.  Contact with the Land Registry was likely to be required.

On infrastructure delivery the LDP had an action programme but key dates were often elusive fuelling concerns about the risk of an over reliance on interim solutions running for way beyond the completion dates for the development.  For example, the proposed new Maybury Primary school was unlikely to commence construction before the Cammo Fields development was complete leaving the new residents reliant on the Cramond Primary and the expectation of walking/cycling children to school across the Queensferry Road.  A clear phased plan was required.

The traffic assessment was inadequate founding on incomplete data not truly representative of the varying volumes of traffic using the Maybury Road.

There were design issues, concerns about the location of the community hub, and issues relating to drainage and flooding with SEPA and Scottish Water still to approve.

In terms of process the submission was due to be made by 8 June. It was open to the Community Council to seek deferral of any decision to strive to amend the plans and secure a site visit and Committee hearing.  Securing clarity around the S75 obligations was imperative and the development would take place over the next 4 to 5 years.

The discussions on the details of concern to those present continued.  Traffic and the combined effect of the various other local developments was of significant concern to many.    Councillor Young referred to the template which had been prepared to help people with their submissions and to the petition that had been started.  Also, the Locality Committee had approved a motion to secure a considered response from officials and the appropriate committee to the Community Council’s paper on the Barnton Junction. The fundamental and glaring inadequacies of the traffic assessment were described by Duncan Fraser and Percy Feketey.   The need for traffic lights at the Maybury junction with Cammo Gardens was discussed.  The additional potential impact of the Murray Gardens plans if they came into a future LDP was flagged up.  Concerns about the height of some of the buildings – and the proposed mass were raised.

The need for the Community Council to focus on what it regarded as the key issues to be covered in the response submission was highlighted.  A scatter gun approach would not work.

Traffic and the traffic impact assessment and its inadequacies needed to be highlighted both in relation to the impact of the Cammo development and to the total disregard to the combined impact of the many other developments that were in prospect all funnelling into the A8/A9 corridor and the connections in NW Edinburgh.

The number of houses and in particular the height and mass of some of the flats and colony house especially those in closest proximity to Maybury Road was worthy of attention.

All present were invited to give further consideration to what they believed should be the key issues to be covered in the Community Council submission and to send these to the Secretary on the CC mail box –  Preferably before the end of the month.

Councillors Reports

Councillor Young advised that efforts were being made to secure proper consideration of the Community Councils’s report on the Barnton Junction especially given the additional impact which may be expected from the Cammo Fields development.  Councillor Hutchison referred to the pressure they have been exerting on officials to address the level of road maintenance and extent of potholes.  Councillor Work referred to the future works that would be required to address the problems with the Weirs.  While excellent work had been done at Fair-a-Far there remained much to do with Dowies Mill Weir and little clarity as to what may be achievable/affordable.  The recent flooding was not helping with the condition of the river and further erosion.

Other Matters

Gena Wylie advised of the progress being made in promoting a planning application in support of the work required on the gatehouse at Lauriston Castle to create the drop in centre and sensory garden etc for those with dementia and their carers.

Acronym’s used in these minutes
  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CC = Community Council
  • SES = Strategic Development Plan
  • TRO = Traffic Regulation Order
  • LDP = Local Development Plan
  • SEPA = Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday 21 June 2018