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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 18th February 2021 via Microsoft Teams

Participating: John Loudon (JL, Acting Chair), John Howison (JH, Vice-Chair), Ian Williamson (IW, Secretary), Sally Chalmers, Jean Morley, Bert Scott, Peter Scott (PS), Percy Feketey, Tom Foggo, Robert Bruce, Gena Wylie, Kit Campbell and Michael Dick. Councillors Young, Hutchison and Work were in attendance (Councillor Hutchison joining around 7.30pm). Apologies had been received from Councillor Lang and Patricia Stott. Some seven members of the public also participated in the meeting, including Archie Chalmers who was supporting and shadowing Peter Scott.

JL reported that the health of Andrew Mather remained fragile, but that more support is being provided at home and Andrew had received a home visit from one of the practice GPs earlier in the week. The thoughts of all present were with him and his family. Patricia Stott had confirmed that she was stepping down as a member of the CC but would continue to follow its work. There is now one vacancy. Kit Campbell and Michael Dick declared interests in the Brighouse Estate issues; the former as his house abuts the site and the latter lives on the site.

The minutes of the January meeting was approved.

Police Report

The new style Police report had been circulated to members earlier in the day. IW highlighted the references to the benefits of the security markings on bicycles with several stolen bikes re-united with owners, the risks of leaving cars with engines running while defrosting and the recent police presence on Cramond Glebe Road at weekends following media coverage of the congestion problems. He had heard of further incidents of vandalism at the grounds at Lauriston Castle (In February and not reflected in the Police report).

Edinburgh Airport

On Edinburgh Airport, JH reported on the response he had pulled together in a questionnaire concerning the Noise Advisory Road. In cooperation with Tom Wylie, who represents the Community Council on the Board, the response reflects a concern that the Board is falling short in offering challenge to the Airport on operational practices.

Planning Report 

On Planning, Peter Scott updated the Community Council on considerations regarding the planning application from AMA for the Brighouse site seeking a 5-year extension to enable it to secure a sports partner. The CC had objected to the application, offering what the community regarded as a more realistic vision designed to secure informal recreational and amenity greenspace for the benefit of the community and Primary School. The Development Management Sub-Committee met on Wednesday 17 February but ran out of time to consider the application. It was to reconvene on the 25th. There had been discussion about the likely response to the call for a hearing. While no conclusion had been reached, some members of the Sub-Committee seemed keen to resist the call for a hearing, arguing that the matter was too technical. PS thanked our Councillors for requesting a hearing.

PS summarised the response which had been developed with support from members and issued to the Council regarding the proposed retirement complex at Barnton Avenue West. These included concerns about incremental pressures from such developments on health and care services in the area, adequacy of on-site car parking, need for better pedestrian links within the complex and the need for more suitable access to storage for bicycles and mobility scooters on site.

Peter indicated that the CC had made a submission on the proposed BoardFast watersports facility at Silverknowes. This welcomed such proposals in principle but suggested minor relocation and controls over vehicular access and parking and identified issues regarding toilet provision and litter prevention. Hamish Barrie highlighted water quality hazards. (These have subsequently been added to the CC’s submissions).

The CC has supported a planning application by Friends of the River Almond for a bronze plaque on Cramond Brig providing information on the history of its construction/re-construction.

On the Barnton Junction/Cammo Walk CPR, Peter reported that following three unproductive meetings, the CC had signalled its intention to suspend the process until CEC officers come back with more meaningful commitment to engage, including fielding officers who know what is being proposed and preparedness to work towards solutions rather than seeking to impose plans which they knew will lead to formal objections to TROs.

Following press coverage on “Cramming in Cramond”, the CC had written to the Convenor of the Transport and Environment Committee emphasising the need for the Committee to look afresh at the closure of Silverknowes Road, the increasing pressures on Cramond Glebe Road and the impact of the former – largely unsupported – closure scheme on Cramond. While a response remained outstanding, IW advised that, based on a discussion he had had with a CEC official, proposals to go to the Convenor were likely to provide for further parking restrictions on CGR, using emergency powers. Silverknowes Road closure is not accepted as a contributory factor.

Ian Adam referred to parking congestion on streets around Cammo Estate. PS referred to current priorities for investment at Cammo, which prioritise wetland development over sustainable, all-abilities paths and car park expansion. On a show of hands, members and guests confirmed that the latter should be a priority.

Councillor’s Report

Councillor Louise Young opened the City Councillors’ Reports. All efforts to influence the CEC on the Spaces for People scheme involving the closure of Silverknowes Road to traffic on the section down to Marine Drive had been unsuccessful. The decision was driven by political dogma and the Council was not moving. The full Council had debated the Council budget earlier in the day and various amendments offered by the LibDems had failed to secure the necessary support. These included demands to invest more on resurfacing of roads and pavements – the current ad hoc filling of potholes was perpetuating the problems. In response to a question on the Brighouse application, Councillor Young explained why she and Councillor Lang supported continuation of the planning condition, as they are concerned that AMA will seek permission for major housing development on the site.

Councillor Hutchison explained that he had asked for a hearing on the Brighouse application and would be asking why this had not been recorded by planning officers. On the Council budget debate, Conservative proposals were passed, in a joint motion with the Greens and Lib Dems, to freeze council house rents. He referred to the Council’s poor winter weather response and issues around the future of Neighbourhood networks and locality planning partnerships.

Councillor Work said he had used part of the CC submission in informing his approach for a hearing on the Brighouse application. He had emphasised that the planning condition is not competent and is unlikely to meet the tests of Circular 4/1998. He was disappointed that the Committee decided to hold a presentation before deciding on a hearing and that there is a danger that the application could still be considered without a hearing when next discussed by the Committee.

On Silverknowes Road closure, Councillor Work advised that the council were marking out the road for bus lanes and speaking to Lothian Buses about reinstating a service to the promenade. There are no immediate plans to reopen the road to general traffic. On bus lanes on Queensferry Road, Councillor Work advised that what is proposed temporarily under the emergency legislation could become permanent. However, he emphasised that there would have to be the normal consultations for any permanent scheme. Finally, Councillor Work said he had been invited to attend a briefing on the future of Dowies Mill Weir and noted that Richard Adlington from Friends of the River Almond had also been invited. PS said that the CC had not been formally invited.

Any Other Business

In closing, John Loudon advised that he had sent a letter to Cala Homes regarding the proposed Cammo Fields Community Hub. No reply had been received as yet. It was noted that as part of the planned Maybury development a new Maybury Primary School and Health Centre is to be constructed. Details can be viewed on the Council’s consultation website.

JL will circulate to members a revised structure for CC responsibilities and activities for comment and review. This will be brought back to the next meeting for discussion. More generally, he encouraged feedback from all on the format and content of agendas and meetings. Stuart Leckie asked to attend the Planning training event to take place on 24 February. Finally, JL confirmed that he had written to the CEC on behalf of the North West Edinburgh Community Council’s Joint Community Participation Request to express the shared disappointment and frustration with the Council’s clear determination to dilute all mechanisms for meaningful engagement with CCs.

Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 18 March 2021 at 7 PM via MS Teams