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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 18th January 2018 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott, Percy Feketey, Jean Morley, Tim Mitchell, Ross Wilkinson, Paul McLaughlin, Michael Dick and Marion Mitchell.  Gena Wylie and Councillors Lang and Young had given their apologies.  A total of 18 people were in attendance including Councillors Graham Hutchison and Norman Work.

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcomed those attending. The minutes of the last November 2017 meeting were approved. 

Police Report

The police report was given by PC Aidan Douds and covered December which had been a very quiet month with only 5 recorded crimes. These comprised an act of vandalism, damage to one of the boats at the Yacht Club and three break-ins/attempted break-ins involving a garage, a shed and a summer house.

Concerns were raised over a quantity of screws and tacks which had been strewn on the south-bound carriageway of the Queensferry Road on the approach to the Barnton Junction. It was suggested that they may have fallen from a lorry, but either way they could have caused a road traffic incident. In the event of a recurrence of such dangerous spillage on to the road the advice was to call the CEC emergency roads number. 

Chairman’s Report

The Chair reported on the meeting of the Neighbourhood Partnership which had taken place on the 17th in South Queensferry. The Locality Improvement Plan and the governance arrangements supporting the plan remained work in progress but as matters stood the role and inputs of CCs seemed to be under threat on the altar of expediency.

On the matter of the Airport, the Chair reported that good progress had been made and the CAA were now open to considering a take-off direction which would steer 20 degrees west avoiding Cramond before banking east along the Forth. Simulation testing was to take place.  An offset landing was now in the CAA spec reflecting the fact that pilots have advised that this is something they can achieve in the right weather conditions. A paper was being developed on night flights against the background of continuing local concern at the ever-increasing frequency, the absence of any regulation and the desire of the Airport to want to try to be a good neighbour.  

The Chair commended the CEC for the speed with which they had moved to address the challenges presented at the Barnton junction where the telecoms mast had become unstable with the high winds presenting risk. The Council had moved swiftly to support telecoms in making the mast safe.

On the Brighouse development Michael Dick reported on the approach that had been made recently to AMA about the proposal which was now emerging from the Cramond Campus Group in the form of the Cramond Sports Partnership. Interest from 2 sports clubs and from the Cramond Primary School in securing shared use of playing fields to be created was developing into a partnership which was sustainable. The prospect of the CEC seeking to make more use of the remaining grounds footprint at the Primary School to accommodate more pupils expected from the prospective Cammo Fields development while the new Maybury Primary was in development made the use of the Campus site for playing fields all the more critical. Some concerns were raised about liabilities on the respective partners going forward. his would need to be addressed in the longer term.  

Planning Report

Peter Scott reported on the scrutiny he had given to the recent SG consultation on the Planning Bill due to be taken to the Scottish Parliament in the near future. Peter undertook to circulate a draft response for the comments of members.  

The Edinburgh Schools Review was currently accessible on the CEC website and members and residents were encouraged to review it. The current focus was on the north and west of Edinburgh reflecting the significant housing development in plan for the area.   Peter advised that the proposals did not affect existing pupils within the Cramond catchment area but the proposed Cammo fields development would fall into the catchment area for the planned new Maybury primary. However, the planned new Maybury school is not scheduled to be opened until 2022 and while it had been thought that such pupils would (while the Maybury school was in development) be sent to East Craigs. Now it appeared that they would be set to the Cramond Primary – and additional temporary buildings would be needed on site.  Similarly, it was going to be 2022 before the new West Edinburgh High School would be completed.  It was unclear as to whether catchment areas wold change again. It was agreed that further clarification was required.           

The Cammo Fields  Development 

Peter Scott reported on the meeting which had taken place with CEC officials and representatives of Cala Homes and David Wilson Homes. He along with Duncan Fraser and Ian Williamson had made clear the concerns of the community about the infrastructure implications of the proposed development especially insofar as traffic and transport were concerned. Regrettably some of the key transport personnel from the CEC were not in attendance. The thinking which lay behind the CC paper on the Barnton junction was set out for officials. Copies of the document had been formally submitted to officials and to the Convenor of the Transport and Environment Committee and a formal response remained outstanding. The nature of the responses provided by those officials who were in attendance on the issue of transport was far from re-assuring betraying a naive view that the pressures on the junction could be mitigated with an increased focus on alternatives to private cars such as walking and cycling – along with some adjustments to the traffic lights. A follow-up meeting is being organised.  

The Cammo Estate

Some £600/£700k was being held for investment in the Estate. Some of this money would be used in preparing a significant bid to be made to the Health Lottery Fund (HLF). The first stage of that bid was in preparation, A successful bid could attract £3 to £4m for investment in the Estate.  

Much of the Estate was subject to underinvestment and tranches of it were little more than quagmire and not user friendly. Nick Benge had driven a lot of work including with the development of the wildflower meadow which was an exemplar. However, if it was to fulfil its potential and with the prospect of an additional 2000 homes coming to the locality more had to be done to improve the Estate. A public exhibition was scheduled to be held in the Lodge over the coming weekend and people were encouraged to attend and to input their views on the emerging options.  

Many varied comments were made reflecting the range of options on which preliminary work had been conducted. There was a challenge to the proposal of a developed wetland which had previously been considered for development within the current field development and rejected by the Airport because of the risks of migratory birds in proximity to flight paths. Parking was inadequate at present; many paths were in a poor state and improvement was needed to the walled garden. Secure cycle parking was also required. Toilets including disabled toilet provision was required. Appropriate and sheltered seating area should be created at strategic points throughout the estate and examples of suitable locations were offered. Interpretation and other educational supports were essential.

The proposals concerning the conservation elements of the estate were generally well received including the continuing development of the wildflower garden, maintaining and improving the key avenues and continuing to develop the biodiversity as well as developing a built heritage conservation management plan. 

Best use of the stable block and the steading/piggery provoked varying ideas reflecting a spectrum of views about visitor provision and the commercialisation of the estate. A major visitor centre and or café may not be commercially attractive and to be viable would risk stimulating more visitors than the locality may wish to sustain and would not be in keeping with the character of the Estate that existing visitors enjoy. Also, the pressure on the roads infrastructure leading to the estate could be untenable.    

Of the options presented for the walled garden the majority were in support of Option C described as a “half and half” programme. 

Peter Scott undertook to prepare a response to the consultation.       

Secretary’s Report

Ian Williamson pointed those present to the issues covered in the Report which had been tabled at the meeting elaborating on the discussions which had taken place on the A200 bus service, on progress with TROs and on a number general maintenance issues.  Councillor Lang was pursuing the unsatisfactory roads resurfacing works carried out last year and which were already in disrepair.

Councillors Reports

Councillor Work reported that considerations on the future of Dowies Weir would follow shortly as the work on Fair-a-Far came to a conclusion. The issue of re-instatement of the paths approaching Fair-a-Far was raised amidst concerns that Riverlife may renege on the commitment given to provide a usable and sustainable surface when the works were finished. The vehicles which had been traversing the approaches to the weir had devastated much of the path. 

Councillor Hutchison reported on his experience in attending a recent gathering of the Cramond Mains Club. He too was pressing for answers on the shoddy resurfacing work which had been carried out last year.  (Note – the issue is not one that is peculiar to Edinburgh – the press has more recently condemned the methodology being used as proven to be not fit for purpose but one that several Councils are using). 

Acronym’s used in these minutes

  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CC = Community Council
  • TRO = Traffic Regulation Order
  • SG = Scottish Government
  • AMA = AMA Homes
  • CAA = Civil Aviation Authority

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday 15 February 2018