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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 19th March 2015 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Peter Scott, Jean Morley, Ross Wilkinson, Percy Feketey, Isla Browning, Robin White, Eaun Pearson and Bert Scott

A total of 20 residents were present, including members.

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed those attending and noted apologies from Jane Neville, and Isla Browning.       Councillors Work, Paterson and Shields were in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting of 15 January 2015 were approved (time not having allowed for the sign-off at the February meeting).   The minute of the 18 February meeting was also approved albeit it was noted that one of those present at the meeting had reservations about the accuracy of the summation of the record on the discussion about the RHS Clubhouse License.

Police report

PC Julian Peukert gave the report for the month to 17 March 2015. During the period there were 58 recorded crimes in the WA05 beat area covering the Cramond, Barnton, Silverknowes, Barnton, Davidsons Mains and Cammo area.  More than a third (23) of these concerned crimes involving housebreaking or attempted housebreaking.   The key message emerging from these incidents pointed to the need for improved security,  vigilance and the need to give careful consideration about where best to keep car keys and items of sentimental value.  Car keys and other items of value should not be readily accessible in the house – many break-ins were opportunistic with the offender trying to get in and away as quickly as possible often taking the householder’s car.    Jewellery and other items of value, including sentimental, should again be kept in secure – and not easy to find –  locations.

There had been a not insignificant police presence in the area in recent days as part of a concerted effort to address the incidence of housebreaking, including the police helicopter – a national resource.  The public were encouraged to phone in anything which appeared suspicious using the 999 number where the report concerned an incident that was a “live” ongoing incident.  An added challenge came from the fact that there were occasions when the offences were committed by youths under the age of 16 and where these same individuals were processed through the justice system for minors which would see them back out on the streets quickly – and committing crimes again.   A number of those attending the meeting stayed on after the meeting picking up some of the prevention leaflets and other security aids which the police had brought along.

Presentation on Planning and Transport Assessment

The Chair introduced David Lyon and Andrew McBride from the City Of Edinburgh Council who had come along to try to provide an understanding of the part played by traffic advisors within the Council in inputting into planning considerations where significant housing development was in prospect.  .  They forewarned that should questions arise  about the detail of current “live” planned developments there would be limitations about what they could say without risk of compromising the political decision-making processes.

David Lyon talked about the strategic importance of the Local Development Plan and how it was designed to include the possible sites for future housing developments; development which when taken together would achieve the additional housing requirements expected by Scottish Government.   That additional housing requirement was not capable of being met from the development of brownfield sites alone, hence the pressure on the green belt.   A given was to look for sites the location of which was well served by the existing roads and where possible transport networks and where the development would create minimal additional impact on infrastructure.

Andrew McBride explained the process followed by transport officials in response to planned developments.  Officials would meet with the developer to agree the scope of the Transport Assessment to be conducted by the developer in support of their application.  The officials would subsequently audit the assessment  with particular regard to potential impact on road junctions.  Developments should not create any negative impact on traffic.

Exampling the West Edinburgh Transport Assessment he advised that full build of both the Cammo and West Craigs site was required by the CEC in the developers assessment.  In stark contrast to the 1980s’ when provision for the private car predominated in planning policy now the focus was on developing sites where there would be easy access to public transport and other modes of sustainable travel, including cycling and walking.   The design layout for the proposed Cammo development includes a bus terminus/turning circle within the development and new bus stops on the Maybury Road frontage.  During the TA’s scoping with the developers transport consultants they recognised that the bus services on this route require financial support in the early years post development, and that it would be appropriate to attach this as a planning obligation on their client.  Efforts to mitigate the impact on traffic would include change to the junction on the Maybury Road at Craigs Road.   There would be adjustments to the traffic lights at the Maybury and Barnton junctions.  It is not possible to use the planning system to get developers to solve existing problems on the road network but the developers TA indicates that the Cammo development would be delivered with no detriment meaning there would be no net increase in travel times or risk of accident.

A variety of questions and points were raised from the floor.  These included concerns about the timings at which traffic counts were being conducted (and whether these reflected the real peaks in flows) ; whether the geographical scope of roads and flows was sufficiently broad to encompass movement from localities such as Blackhall and Queensferry; the extent to which the assessments took any account of local views and knowledge notwithstanding commitment to engage with local communities.  The issue of the latest prospect of a further nursing home development behind Cramond Glebe Road was raised again with concern towards traffic impact on an area which was already operating beyond capacity at certain peaks times, including weekends, especially summer weekends.  (Here the CC was assured by David Lyon and Andrew McBride that thus far there had been no contact between the developers and officials and that indeed they had no awareness of this proposed development before the CC had raised it at the meeting.) The desirability of running traffic modelling for the North West of Edinburgh was suggested – so that the Council had an understanding of flows and pressures on the system before development impact arose.

Examples of where the opportunity had not been taken to improve traffic flows – e.g. an extra lane at the exit on Whitehouse Road to Queensferry Road (notwithstanding development gain monies from the Lyle’s Court development) were highlighted.    In an attempt to bring together the disparate points and questions – some very detailed and/or tangential – it was suggested that what was coming from the floor displayed a sense of loss of confidence in the Council’s traffic team in the handling of these substantial planning applications.  It was recognised that the overarching objective may be to enable housing developments but that perhaps the very small size of the team of officials and the inexorable pressure to build more houses was making it very difficult for the team to be able to find the time to listen to communities and to give the most objective consideration to proposals.

Andrew Mather emphasised that the CC stood ready at all times to engage with the officials at the early stages of any developmental proposals so that local knowledge – and feelings – could be fed into considerations.    David Lyon said that they were reviewing the roles – for example of the local Area Roads Manager – in terms of inputting into traffic assessments where developments were in prospect.  Andrew Mather thanked Mr Lyon and Mr McBride for the time, their patience and their understanding.

Planning Report

Peter Scott provided a brief run through of the position on current planning issues (a more detailed account has been incorporated in the Secretary’s Report  for 19 March  copies of which may be found on the CC website).  These included the withdrawal of applications for planning consent for a development at 2 Inveralmond Gardens/102 Whitehouse Road; there were issues regarding the listing of some of the structures about which the CC had written to the CEC. The withdrawal also took account of recommendations from the City Archaeologist about the listed structures and about underlying Roman remains.  An update was provided on the proposed residential development south of West Craigs Cottage on Craigs Road which has been granted approval in principle despite representations about traffic and other concerns from the local community and he Community Council.   It was confirmed that as yet no formal planning application has been submitted on the proposed nursing home off Cramond Glebe Road.  But the Council’s planners and Archaeologist have already highlighted to the developers the national importance of the site in respect of its relationship to the Roman Fort and potential prehistoric and Roman remains.

There was a report on the recent Friends of the River Almond Walkway AGM where the need for a replacement for the Salvesen Steps was again highlighted.   Thanks were given to Robin White who had undertaken to continue to engage with the developers of the Braehead Farm site to see if a more suitable location for the King James statue can be identified.   An update was provided on the latest position regarding the Cammo Home Farm where the prospective purchaser had withdrawn and where the Council were now looking at the scope for de-listing the structure before marketing the site again.   And a brief report was provided on an event which members of the CC had attended where plans for a redesign of the A8/A89 carriageway and pavements had been on display.  The CC members had offered views on a numbers of issues which did not appear to have been considered.   Copies of the plans were on display at the back of the hall for those interested in viewing them when the meeting concluded.

Secretary’s Report

The Secretary began by expressing his disappointment at the way in which Lothian Buses had engaged with the CC over concerns about the adequacy of bus services to the locality and, in particular,  to Cramond.     From the summer of 2014 the CC had begun a series of exchanges with Lothian Buses in an effort to encourage then to look to provide some greater flexibility and choice re services to and from Cramond recognising the extraordinary journey delays that can occur at peaks times affecting the route up to the Barnton junction (and along the Queensferry Road).  Suggestions were made about looking to adjust the routes of the 41 – and the 43 – to offer the desired choice.   The replies received from LB were not responsive to these suggestions and LB has in recent weeks now advised the CC of its intention to withdraw the 43 service from the end of March 2015.   LB has been disingenuous and disrespectful to the CC in its dealings on this matter.

A brief run through on the latest Action Plan was provided with 6 issues being highlighted as requiring of “remedial” consideration before the key officers – Audrey Primrose and Darren Wraight – give their presentation to the May meeting.   The CC had agreed to seek a mandate to add a new action regarding the need for urgent road repairs to the section of Cramond Road North running from the mini roundabout at the AMA site to the junction with Gamekeepers Road.    Lindsay Patterson said she had spoken to the roads team following representations and had been assured the repairs would take place before the end of the financial year.

Councillors reports

The report from Councillors covered concerns from the Marine Society about the state of the beach at Cramond owing to the inappropriate flushing of unsuitable items.  The budgetary considerations had, for the time being, secured the future of the public toilets on Cramond foreshore.  The decision by the Council planning committee to defer consideration of the latest LDP was commented on – with the prospect of further delays being mooted.

Date of Next Meeting

The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the CC would take place on Thursday 23 April 2015 where there would be a presentation from the University of Edinburgh Architectural and Landscape design students on how they would improve the design and amenity of the area.

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