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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 18th October 2018 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott, Percy Feketey, Bert Scott, Jean Morley and Michael Dick.  Marion Mitchell, Gena Wylie. Ross Wilkinson and Tim Mitchell had given their apologies as had Councillor Lang.   A total of 16 people were in attendance including Councillors Work, Lang and Hutchison.

Police Report

There was no police representative and therefore no police report.

Minutes of September Meeting

The minutes of the September meeting were approved.

Chairman’s Report

The Chair reported on the airport.  As reported at the last meeting the prospect of offset arrivals avoiding the current approach line was now lost on safety grounds.  The opposition to the adjusted north bound departure avoiding route over the Forth including from the North Queensferry and Dalgety Bay Community Councils was intensifying, and approaches were being made to the Secretary of state for Transport.  The CAA continued to advise the Airport that it remained supportive of the diverted departure route.  Night flights remained an area of increasing concern.  The Airport had been invited to consider adopting a voluntary code of practice failing which regulation may be required.  There followed some expressions of concern as to how long the Airport would be left to consider the alternatives with a worry that the longer time went on the more night flights would be added to the business establishing a baseline that may already be breaching the limits of acceptability.   Councillor Young undertook to check on the timetable to which the Airport were working on this issue; the ball was in their court to go back to the CEC.

The Chair advised that he was due to be meeting with the Chairs of the other CCs in the NW Locality to discuss their shared concerns about the pressures on the A90 corridor and the future cumulative added pressure that could be anticipated from the various developments.

The Chair also reported on a recent visit he and Peter Scott had had with Cala and David Wilson Homes about the Cammo Fields development.  There was a shared concern about the risks associated with the development in terms of the associated infrastructure requirements.  It was essential that better harmonisation of the development (and the other developments in the Cammo/Maybury/Turnhouse area with the Council’s infrastructure programme was achieved.  For example, as matters stood at present there was every likelihood that the proposed new Maybury Primary School (to which children from the Cammo development – and the other developments – would go) would not see building commence until the Maybury development was under way.  That could be several years away, as he full planning application had not yet been submitted, prompting a situation where more and more children would be pushed towards existing schools in the area that are already at capacity.

Planning and Secretary’s Reports

As per the September meeting the proceedings moved to deal with the reports from Peter Scott (planning lead) and Ian Williamson (Secretary).  In each case they spoke to the written report which had been tabled at the meeting.  What follows is that written report with the respective presentations and dialogue on the night recorded in font 12 cooper black

Planning Matters

3 Strathalmond Road – Proposed House (18/08166/PPP)

This application in principle is for development of a house in the gardens of a home at Strathalmond Road, but with access from Cammo Road (opposite site of former Cammo Farmhouse).  The site is in the steep-sided valley of the Bughtlin Burn and involves culverting of the burn. The CC has sought refusal on the following grounds –

  1. Insufficient details to enable adequate assessment of the proposals.
  2. The development is contrary to LDP policies in respect of 
    1. protection of amenity/landscape values – the site is in the Special Landscape Area of the River Almond corridor and will require extensive removal of trees, resulting in loss of amenity, potential increase in flood risk and ground slippage, and reduction in biodiversity.  The CC has recommended that the Council survey the trees and apply Tree Preservation Orders to prevent removal of trees of significance in anticipation of development.
    2. protection of nature conservation interests – the site is part of the Local Nature Conservation Site, which encompasses the River Almond Valley and it is adjacent to Cammo Estate Local Nature Reserve.  The burn and adjacent vegetation cover provide important habitats and valuable green/blue networks for wildlife. The supporting papers provide no assessments of biodiversity, including the potential presence/use of the site by protected species (e.g. bats, badgers).
    3. flood protection – The Bughtlin Burn and its immediate surroundings are identified by SEPA as being at high risk of flooding.  The development and, in particular, culverting of the Bughtlin Burn will increase risks of flooding to the site, adjacent properties and up-stream areas.  The removal of trees and other groundworks are likely to increase run-off and risks of flooding and ground slippage. The supporting papers do not provide flood risk assessments.

3 Braehead Road – Extend approved house development (18/06969/FUL)

This is the site of a previously approved house in the front garden of an existing bungalow.  The applicants are seeking approval to extend the approved dwelling by the addition of an office/study – the frontage of which would be within 2 metres of the public footway and road.  The resultant extension would be visually intrusive and significantly in front of the building lines of adjacent properties, in contravention of LDP policies and the City Council’s design guidance.

Land South of Turnhouse Road – Proposed Pedestrian/Cyclist Bridge (18/07600/PPP)

While not within our CC’s area, the CC has indicated its support for the provision of a pedestrian/ cyclist bridge which, along with appropriate pedestrian and cycle links, is intended to connect the Maybury, Cammo and Barnton areas with the Gateway Transport Interchange and Gyle Retail and Business Parks.

Cammo Fields Development

CBCC’s Chair and Planning Representative have had a further meeting with representatives of Cala and David Wilson Homes.  We were informed of anticipated changes to the development proposals, including restricting the height of most flats to 3 storeys, minor amendments to road layouts and landscaping, etc.  The developers intend to submit amendments to their previous planning application to the planning authority by the end of November. Possible timescales include completion of all regulatory approvals by late 2019 and completion of the first properties by late 2020.  The Community Council has offered to hold an exhibition of the amended plans at the Kirk Halls in advance of a short CC meeting in mid-December – date to be announced (as opposed to the regular cycle of meetings on the third Thursday of most months).

As the Chair had emphasised in his presentation the issue of the risk of significant time-lag between the houses being built and the required infrastructure was a source of considerable concern.    If not to be provided before the houses were complete, then additional required infrastructure should be provided to the same build time frame or with minimal delay.  It should certainly not be driven by the timetable of the slowest.   The next iteration of the Action Plan was expected from the CEC before the end of January 2019.  The CC will be asking for a hearing on the planning application.

Cammo Estate Regeneration Project

The Planning Representative will report on progress on this Project following a recent meeting of representatives of Friends of Cammo, the Community Council and CEC’s Forestry & Natural Heritage staff.    Reflecting the realisation that the extent of competition for HLF funds and changes to HLF funding schemes now meant that a more measured proposal was more likely to succeed than a major multi-£million pound bid the emerging view was that the application should concentrate on 4 smaller schemes including expanding and improving the car parking, better interpretation and furniture (e.g. seating, woodland play area) wildlife conservation and path improvements.

Secretary’s Report

The Queensferry Road and Scottish Power Road Works

For discussion.  But perhaps in an effort to focus minds to the future we might measure the reality against the rhetoric that is the aspiration of the Council.

Among the objectives of the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee are:

C19  Keep the City moving by reducing congestion, improving public transport to rural west Edinburgh and managing road works to avoid unnecessary disruption to the public; and

C20  Explore the introduction of a lane rental for utility companies to reduce traffic pressures.

The consensus was that the latest phase had been no where near as disruptive – or as long – as the earlier summer phase.  Nonetheless the stated objectives of the T&E Committee were very commendable considerations and it was suggested that Councillors might enquire as to where the Committee had reached in its considerations of these very practical solutions.

Cramond Toilets

Many of you may have read the recent article in the Evening News covering what was alleged to be a leaked memorandum setting out considerations being given by officials to the possibility of closure of most of the remaining public toilets in Edinburgh.     Quite how such a notion sits alongside the Scottish Government National Performance Framework in terms of delivering the national objective “We are healthy and active” is perhaps a moot point.

Healthy and active may be the aspiration but for many such closures would also require that we are both anal and urinary retentive – or is that just the officials who came up with this latest wheeze.  Apparently, it is not an essential service.      I note that in the Council’s Business plan for 2017-22 the Transport and Environment Committee have the responsibility for objective C24 “reduce the incidence of dog fouling on Edinburgh’s streets and public parks”.   Also, C23 “Implement improvement plans for Waste and Cleansing Services to improve street cleanliness in every ward.  Re-introduce a free bulky item collection service to tackle fly tipping”.

Perhaps in the not too distant future we will need a new C23a ……to tackle fly shitting!  More seriously and notwithstanding the indication in the article that the toilets in Cramond would be one of two in the city to be preserved we have asked that the EACC seek information from the CEC concerning the staffing numbers and running costs of the toilets across the City.  There is a shared view that there remains scope for significant savings to be taken out of the service without the wholesale closures that may be in prospect.

There may be measures which the Community could support to enable toilets to remain open but with reduced costs.  And there may be technical solutions worthy of consideration.     

Since the meeting a further approach has been made to the EACC for it to pursue this with the Council.

Cramond Promenade

The CC recently received an approach from the Council’s Parks and Recreation Department seeking comments on an application which had been made to commence a “Blast” event comprising two timed race events (5k and 10k) to run on Sundays from next Spring 2019.   The CC responded detailing why we and the Kirk Session were totally opposed to this application and asking that it be rejected outright.  The timings risked clashing with the Sunday services at the Church.  DMSA has responded in similar vein albeit stopping short of outright rejection.

The issue sparked a lively debate with some suggestions of preparedness to agree to a compromise solution – for example by trialling the proposal over a few Sundays come the Spring 2019.  On the other hand, there was a concern that even were such a trial to seem manageable (in terms of impact on other visitors to and users of the prom and the Village) then that may not prevent the event growing and becoming too unmanageable and intrusive.

A show of hands demonstrated an overwhelming, indeed unanimous, vote in favour of the CC seeking an absolute rejection of the proposed weekly Sunday event.  This was actioned, and the CC can report that the Council have confirmed that they have rejected the application.

For the record the following is the terms of the CC e-mail response to the Council on the proposed event;

Hi Hannah,

Your follow-up on this application sparked a lively debate at the Community Council meeting last night.    Your efforts to seek a compromise solution were noted – and possibilities discussed.  The foreshore and promenade is a diamond of an asset and is one which should be protected for the general use of the people of Edinburgh.  The park run on a Saturday may be seen as setting a precedent.  The numbers participating are certainly not insignificant but the disruption to the wider population is mitigated by the length of the run, timing of start and the fact that it does not clash with other “events” bringing people down into Cramond within the same time periods.  A Sunday at the proposed times does clash with the Cramond Church Service at Cramond Kirk on Cramond Glebe Road which is the overspill on-street default to the public car park (and the Inn carpark which is often used by runners and others – not customers of the Inn) as the public carpark fills.  When the Church is in many of the congregation park on the street as the car park behind the church hall fills.  Many are elderly and need to park in close proximity to the Church.   Blast risks seeing these on-street spaces being occupied by people who evidently have no mobility shortcomings. That in turn risks causing congestion and gridlock on Cramond Glebe Road.    Whilst noting the comments made by the applicant about the width of the promenade and therefore the assertion that there is room for all users that is a simplistic point of view and disregards the reality for many older, frail people the variety and congestion of users can be threatening, and they choose not to use it because of these threats.   Dog spooked by runners, extendable leads, cyclists and disabled wheelchairs vying for space may be a pleasant distraction for some, a mild irritation for others but a final straw for the elderly frail in particular.   One weekend day for a recurrent run is more than enough.   We are privileged to have inherited such an asset as the promenade.   We sought a show of hands on two options.  Firstly, that the CC respond supporting a preparedness to consider a compromise proposal.  Secondly that we revert to you re-affirming the CC’s absolute rejection of the application – a response which also has the backing of the Cramond Kirk.   I must advise you there was a unanimous show of hands from attendees and CC members in favour of absolute rejection of the application.  Therefore, I would re-iterate our earlier response which is that this application be rejected outright.

I hope you were able to finally open the video I forwarded to you showing an ambulance stuck on Cramond Glebe Road one Sunday earlier this year due to gridlock caused by the numbers of cars badly parked and the volume trying to get in and out of the Village.  This image was shared with the Councillors and officials in the Spring.      Such occurrences are all too frequent involving the SAS and the Coastguard.  The Police had on a number of occasions back in the Spring to devote (waste) their resources managing traffic into and out of Cramond.    That is why I asked you about what response you had received from “Public Safety”.   That is also why I have taken the liberty of copying this response to the Coastguard and the Police (couldn’t find an e-mail address for the SAS or I would have copied them in too).


All the best.

Ian Williamson


Cramond and Barnton Community Council

Cramond Inn

The Inn once again is closed following the dismissal of the latest management team.  An attempt was made by the brewer to cover the service with the team from the Doocot but that failed, and the Inn is now closed indefinitely.   The churn of management sees few lasting more than a year with the resultant frequent short-term closures of the Inn. Some management have left quietly, some have not.  The brewer is understood to be looking for a suitable manager on Gumtree.  For information and for discussion.

One of the residents who had prior to retirement been professionally involved in the legal aspect of licensing suggested that the Licensing Board should be invited to report on the history of the license over the past two decades when Samuel Smiths had been the brewer owning and responsible for the establishment.  Unfortunately, there was no duty to trade imposed on license holders.  But the privilege was being abused repeatedly given the frequency of the closures and the nature of the behaviours of some of the displaced managers.  It was put to Councillor Work that he might look into the extent to which the Police had an understanding of activities which may call into question the suitability of the management.

Cramond Bus Services

Our engagement with officials at Waverley Court continues.  As there have been a number of false dawns on this subject in the past that is all that may be said at this juncture.

Cramond Residence

The Chair and Secretary met with Graeme Kelly of Walkerhealthcare and enjoyed a tour of the new Care Home.   As a result of the CC’s overtures he has agreed that we could advise Lothian Buses that their drivers may use the toilets in the service area of the home should they need to.

He has also agreed that we may make an approach to the Post Office with a view to trying to secure a post box on the site for the use of residents of the home and of the community.   Many will recall that 2 boxes closed – one near the doctors’ surgery and the second following the closure of the post office at the top of School Brae.

Acronym’s used in these minutes
  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CC = Community Council
  • HLF = Heritage Lottery Fund
  • LDP = Local Development Plan
  • SEPA = Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • CAA = Civil Aviation Authority
  • EACC = Edinburgh Association of Community Councils

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday 15 November 2018