CRAMOND & BARNTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 20th May 2021 via Microsoft Teams (as approved on 17 June 2021)
Participating: John Loudon (Acting Chair), John Howison (Vice-chair), Hamish Barrie, Clair Bunch, Kit Campbell, Sally Chalmers, Michael Dick, Percy Fekety, Tom Foggo, Jean Morley, Bert Scott, Peter Scott, Ian Williamson, Gena Wylie with Tom Wylie, Gary Cameron, John Skinner, Ross Wilkinson and Councillor Louise Young in attendance.
John Howison opened the meeting by noting the need to appoint a new Chair. Ian Williamson proposed, and Peter Scott seconded John Loudon and he was elected unanimously. He then chaired the rest of the meeting.
Tribute to Andrew Mather
Ross Wilkinson paid a moving tribute to Andrew Mather whose energy and commitment to the local community had contributed hugely to the work of the Community Council for over the past decade.
John Loudon accepted the role of Chair but noted that as he has a wide range of other commitments, he would not be able to devote as much time to the Council as Andrew Mather, for whom it had been almost a full-time job. He therefore suggested that he would like to see all members playing an active part in the progression of Council initiatives rather than continue to have a handful of members doing most of the work.
Declarations of Interest
There were no new declarations of conflicts of interest but those from previous meetings remained in place.
Apologies had been received from Councillors Hutchison, Laing and Work.
Approval of April 2012 Minutes
The minutes were approved subject to the addition of Michael Dick to the list of attendees.
Members reiterated the need to remove a broken branch overhanging Cramond Glebe Road close to the car park exit and noted that one of the street lamps was very largely obscured by foliage.
Ian Williamson introduced the Police Report, referring in particular to instances of anti-social behaviour by youths, including abuse of bus drivers in the Pilton area. He hoped that bus drivers dropping off groups of youths at the bus stop at the top of Cramond Glebe Road in the evening would inform their control who in turn should inform the Police.
Sally Chalmers noted that the Report contained an e-mail address for reporting concerns to the Police and also contact details for Crimestoppers. She suggested publicising these details on the Council’s Facebook page and this was agreed.
Roads and Transport
John Howison reported that he had not received any comments on his draft response to Sestrans and as a result had submitted it. However, as there was wider interest in transport issues generally, he had drawn up a matrix of possible policies based on four broad aims which he suggested the Council should adopt.
Sally Chalmers suggested that the fourth aim – to protect the local quality of life, health and environment – should be given first as it related directly to the well-being of the local community. She also suggested that the paper could be seen as concerned only with public transport and should be widened to include private transport. Jean Morley thought it desirable to add a comment on the noise from motorcycles, “souped up” cars and construction traffic on Queensferry Road, especially at night, while Bert Scott reported that some motorcyclists were doing “wheelies” there and in Silverknowes.
John Howison asked any member who wished to comment on the paper to email him with a “tracked changes” version.
Peter Scott reported that he was expecting a response in the near future from Dave Sinclair of CEC to the Community Council’s Community Participation request.
Kit Campbell reported on a very positive meeting with the City Council’s Development Management Committee on 12 May, at which Officials had recommended that it approve AMA’s request to be allowed a further five years to deliver sports facilities on the Campus. The local community had been represented by John Loudon, Adam Cumming (chair of the Cramond Association), Kit Campbell, Gary Cameron and the four local councillors. In their presentations they had emphasised three main points to the Comittee
- The former playing fields had been a derelict eyesore for the last ten years and were dangerous with no public access.
- The condition recommended by the Council’s officials was unenforceable and would not guarantee the delivery of anything.
- The “sporting and greenspace planning context” had changed considerably since AMA bought the site and there was a need to review its future development in the light of recent trends.
The Committee had been very supportive of the views of the local community and the Convener, at least, had “done his homework” and as a result was well aware of the history of the site. The community representatives had emphasised their willing to engage positively with AMA to find an environmentally and financially sustainable way of improving the site and allowing public access.
Caroline Nutsford (planning consultant advising AMA) and Mike Afshar, managing direct of AMA, then spoke. The main points they made were:
- The Brighouse development had not been profitable and the accounts for AMA (Cramond) Ltd were available from the Companies House website
- The land is dangerous in its present condition and AMA had not taken out public liability insurance to cover claims from anyone injured on it.
- Cricket Scotland had recently approached AMA with a view to resurrecting the earlier cricket ground proposal.
- AMA was willing to enter into discussions with the local community.
- AMA’s “road map” set out how they hoped to progress the process of determining the future of the former playing fields area.
- The Convener asked Mike Afshar to say what had become of the £1M AMA claimed over ten years earlier to have provided to a specially created management company for the sports facilities. He responded that money had been pledged but not paid and that much of it had been spent on investigating the feasibility of different forms of sports provision. Another councillor raised the possibility of a community buyout of the land, but Mike Afshar dismissed the suggestion.
After discussion, the Committee agreed:
- To continue (i.e., defer making a decision) the AMA application until at least 18 August.
- To require the local community (including not only CBCC but the Cramond Association, the local primary school and others) and AMA to try to agree a way forward in the form of either a “Good Neighbour Agreement” or a revised road map. This might well suggest a much simpler and more deliverable set of proposals or possibly a phased approach.
- To consider imposing an Amenity Notice requiring AMA to remediate the land and make it safe for public access if these discussions failed to identify a mutually acceptable solution.
- To instruct officials to find a way of making any approval of the AMA application enforceable.
Accordingly, the local community had drawn up a paper – endorsed by the Cramond Association, the Brighouse Residents Association and the Friends of Cramond Campus – setting out its suggestions on how to progress positive discussions. The Chair had circulated that paper earlier in the day and Kit Campbell would circulate it to CBCC members and others as appropriate. Sally Chalmers also offered to post it on the Council’s Facebook page.
Gary Cameron suggested that it should be circulated to the wider community, and it should be possible to enforce a community buy-out if AMA failed to upgrade the land timeously. He also noted that the Scottish Land Find was a potential source of funds to assist any purchase. However, Kit Campbell pointed out raising was capital was much easier than generating revenue funding and that a simple park on the former playing fields would probably cost at least £50-60,000 per year to maintain.
Hamish Barrie expressed the view that AMA had let the local community down very badly and wondered what had happened to the capital funding he believed AMA had had to provide to the Council in relation to the original housing development. Kit Campbell responded that there was no such payment. Because a similar misconception has been aired at some past public meetings, a note appended to this Minute gives an overview of what are known as “developer contributions” for the information of CBCC members.
Active Travel Route along Cammo Walk
Peter Scott spoke briefly to the paper he had prepared which, while generally supporting the principle of the development of Cammo Walk as a green active travel corridor, was seeking refusal as a result of significant shortcomings in the detailed proposals. He asked for any comments to be sent to him. Sally Chalmers raised some concerns relating to the increasing difficulties of entering and exiting the Cammo estate as a result of various road works as part of the Maybury development and the bus lane on Queensferry Road.
Other Planning Applications
- The Council had agreed to support the proposed water sports centre off Silverknowes but limited the permission to three years and imposed additional lease requirements on the operator.
- The developers had made some improvements to the proposed Juniper Retirement homes in Barnton Avenue West
- The had been various objections to the proposed link road from the Gogar roundabout to the airport, including from within the city council.
- Jean Morley expressed concern relating to the apparent digging up of the pavement along Maybury Road and height of flats in the Maybury development. Peter Scott agreed to investigate.
Neighbourhood Network Update
Percy Fekety reported that Neighbourhood Networks (NNs) were supposed to have superseded Neighbourhood Partnerships over a year ago but Covid plus doubts expressed by CBCC and others had resulted in only one physical meeting before lockdown. However, a second meeting had been held on 12 May. Keith Giblett of the Queensferry CC was elected as chair and Evelyn Kilmurry, on behalf of the City Council, presented background information, including on the Northwest Neighbourhood Environment Programme and covering an organogram of the Council. Ian Williamson has copies and could circulate.
The NN agreed that the “theme” behind its work should be social isolation, health and wellbeing, reflecting the fact that the Almond Ward, unlike other NW Localities, does not have pockets of deprivation. Council representatives outlined what was happening in other areas and offered to provide back-up (such as mapping), with Mike Malleson from the Council to speak at a future meeting. The NW Environmental Program had £155,000 still unspent but clarity was needed on the extent to which some of the money was already committed to projects which may have stalled.
Rod Alexander from the Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes Association had expressed concern in relation to the state of roads in the area but did not know who in the City Council to contact. Evelyn Kilmurray advised that while she had no control, she could be emailed for help if required.
Ian Williamson reported:
- The state of bathing waters off Cramond were of rising public concern and bore poor comparison with Portobello. Members agreed that a weekly clean of the beach was desirable and hoped the development of the proposed water sports centre at Silverknowes might spur some action by Scottish Water, SEPA or the Council in relation to water quality. Councillor Young said that she and Councillor Lang had secured a commitment from Council officials for a regular mechanically aided clean of the beach. Hamish Barrie suggested the major water quality problem related to sewerage and that the outfall beyond Cramond Island might not be adequately screened. The Chair asked HB to draft a note for him to send to Alex Cole-Hamilton’s seeking his attention.
- The proposed TRO hearing relating to Cramond Glebe Road had been delayed but remained likely to go ahead – and the Hearing may be called at short notice.
- He and Gena Wylie had taken part in a good discussion with the Cramond Medical Practice and would be circulating a brief note on matters raised and future changes and engagement,
Louise Young reported:
- The Development Management Committee was taking the Brighouse issues seriously and AMA had not done their case any good with a very poor presentation.
- The City had received some extra funding from the Scottish Government but it had not yet been allocated
- Kevin Laing was taking up the issue of bollards in Silverknowes Road.
- If the 43 bus from South Queensferry was not better used there is a chance the service will cease. However, Ian Williamson reported that as bus driver had told him that it is popular, and Hamish Barrie highlighted the very good rail service from Dalmeny to the centre of Edinburgh as an alternative.
- She undertook to look into concerns raised by Jean Morley in relation to the siting of temporary bus stops in Queensferry Road far away from established bus stops, making it necessary for some elderly users to walk a considerable distance.
Any Other Competent Business
- Peter Scott paid tribute to Richard Adlington who was standing down as Chair of Friends of the River Almond Walkway
- John Loudon had concluded that the last year has seen somewhat of a hiatus in the considerations of the Cramond Collaborative, and the members of the various local groups were not currently well informed on the activities of the constituent local organisations. The Cramond Neighbours website had lots of information but much of it was concerned with things for sale. As a result, he had asked Gary Cameron to develop a mechanism for sharing information better and more widely.
The Chair closed the meeting at 20:40
Date of Next Meeting – which will also be the AGM
Thursday 17 June 2021 at 7 PM via MS Teams