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

Minutes of Meeting held on Thurs 21st June 2018 in

Cramond Kirk Millennium Hall

Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Ian Williamson (Secretary), Percy Feketey, Jean Morley, Ross Wilkinson and Gena Wylie.  Peter Scott had given his apologies as had Michael Dick, Tim Mitchell, Bert Scott and Councillor Work.  A total of 18 people were in attendance.

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair began by thanking those many people who had wished him so well during his recent significant health challenge.  He was feeling very well and delighted to be back in harness.

 The Chair introduced Bob Brough who spoke about his past 2 and a half years involvement in the Airport Action Group and its participation in the Edinburgh Airport Consultative Committee.  The local Councillors, MSPs and MP were also part of this engagement with the Airport where patience was a desirable attribute.  Bob spoke about four issues.  The first concerned that of east bound departures on which the Airport had gone out recently with a fresh consultation.  The proposed new E7A flight path represented a marginal but welcome improvement on the existing east bound flight path which flew over the River Almond estuary in close proximity to Cramond.

The marginal changes would see such aircraft fly over Lord Rosebery’s estate and across the Forth before banking west as they approached the Fife coast.  The change was already attracting stiff opposition from communities such as Dalgety Bay.  Residents of Cramond and Barnton were encouraged to respond to the consultation welcoming the proposed change – and before 28 June.

Discussions about offset arrivals were continuing.  Where aircraft had the Rnav technology then this was feasible.   The new report on night flights said there should be no east bound departures going out at night; but what is the night period?  The CEC has recently passed a motion calling on the Airport to introduce a voluntary night flying code.  The response of the Airport is awaited.  Finally, a Noise Advisory Board has been set up with an independent Chair.  This mirrors the arrangements at Gatwick and is a welcome development.

The Treasurer spoke to the accounts presented for 2017/18.  The position looked healthier than it was due largely to the hall charges not having been charged until the new financial year.  The income from the Airport was noted as was expenditure towards the Interpretation group and to the purchase of plants for the Village.  The accounts were approved.  The Chair advised that he had questioned the level of grant support to the CC from the CEC given the prospective new housing developments (and the fact of the correlation meant to exist between numbers of households and CC grant support).

The discussion moved on to consider the various issues covered in the written report which had been tabled and a copy of the report may be found at the end of the minute – for ease of reference.  The updates on planning issues had been provided by Peter Scott prior to his going on holiday.

Picking up on the issue of traffic concerns associated with the Cammo Fields development Percy Feketey related some of the recent examples of incidents on the Maybury Road and on the City Bypass and the traffic chaos that had ensued.  The analysis of traffic volumes and pressures which had been conducted into the Cammo development was flawed and Council staff did not have the knowledge to understand its limitations.  As well as there being a need for a study of the A90 Queensferry Road corridor there was also a need for a fresh study of the A8/M8 and the A71.

The decision to suspend the TRO covering Cramond Glebe Road and which focussed on the exit (and entrance) to the proposed care home prompted discussion.  While the expected revise may provide a more comprehensive traffic management plan there was still the likelihood that it would not satisfactorily address the fundamental weakness of the exit path from the home.  Officials would have to be informed about these deficiencies and a formal complaint may have to be made.Picking up on the report on the presentation on the Barnton Junction Kevin Lang said that the paper and presentation had been well received by the North West Locality Committee members, that there was a commitment to some quick wins and that a report back from officials to the next meeting on 11 September would serve to maintain the focus on the issue.  The hearing had delivered a robust scrutiny of the considerations of the officials on the proposals on the paper.  This view was supported by Graeme Hutchison; the meeting had been one of the better ones and a sense of real local accountability was present.

In keeping with Kevin Lang, the proposed introduction of a charge for the garden refuse bins was top of Graham Hutchison’s e-mail box complaints.  Work on Cramond Primary School had begun to increase its pupil capacity.  The plans for the replacement to the Salvessen Steps had stalled against fresh information having emerged about the emerging suspended boardwalk option being non-compliant with the latest flood risk information.

In submitting his apologies for being unable to attend Norman Work had advised that he was continuing to press officials on the issue of funding for Dowies Weir.  Steven Webley has invited the Almond Councillors for a site visit and to discuss this ongoing issue.

Police Report

PC Euan Weir reported that there had been 18 crimes reported during May, of which 7 had been solved to date.   Virtually all of these were either housebreakings or attempted housebreaking or theft – including involving breaking into a car and theft, a pedal cycle, garden tools from a shed ad alcoholic drinks from the Tesco in D’Mains.  More seriously there was an act of vandalism including a serious assault.

Planning Matters

597 Queensferry Road – Proposed 6 Townhouses

The outcome of the above application was wrongly stated at the last CC meeting, as the Planning Representative was informed by a neighbour that the application was approved just seconds before the start of the meeting. In fact, the neighbour had seen the Handling Report, not the Development Management Sub-Committee’s decision of the day before the CC meeting. Our Councillors had sought a hearing on the application at the Sub-Committee’s meeting and although this request was rejected, it triggered a discussion which eventually led to the application being refused on grounds of access of the house nearest to Queensferry Road being too near the junction of Cammo Road and Queensferry Road and the design of the end gable.  While this application was refused, the Sub-Committee did not challenge the principles of replacing the traditional villa with townhouses and it is likely that a revised application will be forthcoming, which may well be approved.

NOTE – UPDATE OF 20 JUNE.  A revised application has now been promoted and may be found on the CEC website portal for applications.  Peter Scott has alerted us to this from the hills of Albania via his i-phone (where evidently a better reception is enjoyed than in many parts of Edinburgh) and will study the details on his return with a view to formulating a response for the consideration of the CC.  The detail of the CC earlier response is as set out in the minute of our April meeting.  Please look at the new application with a view to offering your own comments and/or to input into the CC response.  This development is at a very dangerous road junction which fact was acknowledged at the NW CEC Locality Planning Committee on 19 June 2018.   Councillors will want to consider whether a hearing should be sought.

18/01755/FUL: Cammo Fields Development

Following the exhibition of plans and discussion at CC’s May meeting, the Community Council sought agreement, initially informally and then formally, by Council officers to defer consideration of the planning application until the items identified below have been resolved.

This request was turned down and CC has lodged its formal submission seeking refusal of the application, or the use of suspensive conditions, to ensure that deficiencies in the application and issues regarding design, drainage, traffic, etc. are resolved to the satisfaction of the City Council, Community Council and local communities, prior to any planning proposals being approved.

Of particular concern to the Community Council are –

  1. Unresolved ownership issues relating to northern boundary
  2. Substantial deficiencies in assessments supporting the application.
  3. Density, layout and landscape impacts associated with the apartment buildings
  4. Traffic and air quality issues
  5. Inadequate assurances on provision of essential infrastructure
  6. Opportunities to enhance the utility, landscaping and layout of proposals.

The full submission and a technical appendix on the assessments can be viewed on the Council’s planning portal.  The Community Council will be asking our Councillors to seek both a site visit and hearing by the Development Management Sub-Committee, if/when the application goes forward for decision.  It is likely, however, that the current applicant may be refused or withdrawn until outstanding matters are resolved and a further consultation stage be undertaken on a subsequent application.

18/02116/FUL: Demolition of Dwelling and Erection of 7 Townhouses, 34 Cammo Road

The proposals are for two rows of townhouses to replace a large detached home opposite Cammo Estate and next to the entrance to River Almond Walkway.  These have been discussed with concerned neighbours and the CC has sought refusal on the following grounds (in summary) –

  1. Density, scale and design –
  • existing house has significant traditional character, contributing to sense of place
  • proposed townhouses are of a density, footprint, height (3-storeys), style, roof types and materials, which are out of character with surrounding buildings
  • the northern terrace and its building heights, combined with the topography, will affect the amenity, privacy, outlook and enjoyment of house and garden of the property to the rear
  • there is a total mismatch in heights and forms of the eaves and ridge lines of neighbouring properties to the heights of the flat roofs of the townhouses.
  • the scales of the garden areas and external drives (5m) are inadequate
  • there is no provision for turning at the end of the site cul-de-sac
  1. Lack of bat and badger surveys
  2. Impacts on Bughtlin Burn Local Nature Conservation Site.
  3. Safety concerns for pedestrians – Cammo Road in this location has two hazardous and partially blind bends and no footpath.  On-road parking will exacerbate safety issues.

18/02021/FUL, Conversion of lock-up garage/former railway bridge into dwelling, 84N Barnton Park View, Edinburgh

The Community Council has consulted representatives of residents of neighbouring apartment blocks and is aware of their substantial objections to this development, which comprises conversion of a former railway bridge (used as a lock-up), located between established flats overlooking the Royal Burgess Golf Course.  The Community Council is seeking refusal for the reasons outlined below –

  • Lack of bat and badger surveys
  • Development is contrary to LDP policies and ‘Edinburgh Design Guidance’ – the built form comprises primarily vertical and angular design features (e.g. cladding, fenestration, doorways), which contrast with the ‘soft’ curved design of the former bridge.  The top section extends beyond the height of the former bridge to create an angular feature (box), which is alien to the character of the bridge, adjacent buildings and surrounding landscape
  • The building materials, colours and textures (grey zinc cladding, some larch cladding) contrast inappropriately with the materials and colours of the historic, former bridge and adjacent flats
  • The Design Statement is erroneous, as the development will significantly diminish the historic and amenity values of the railway bridge.
  • Parking issues – the applicant has a right of access through the access/garage areas of 84 Barnton Park View, but this may not cover parking and the proposed single, internal parking space will be inadequate for residents and visitors, causing potential inconvenience to local residents and/or potential on-street parking issues.

Cramond Heritage Trail

Cramond Heritage Trail has been completed and was launched at an event at The Maltings on 5 June in glorious weather.  The Heritage Trail is intended to enhance the local community’s and its visitors’ awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of Cramond’s unique social and industrial heritage.  It comprises orientation map-boards, direction posts and waymarkers, and interpretation boards featuring stories about Fair-a-Far and other mills of the Lower River Almond, Cramond Village and Harbour, and Cramond island.  An earlier stage in the project comprised the development of three map-boards on the River Almond Walkway.

The project has been a long time in development, due to the search for funding, detailed design of orientation and interpretation materials, contracting design and interpretation consultants, etc.  The project is the product of a very successful collaboration between CC, Cramond Association and Friends of the River Almond Walkway, with support from Cramond Heritage Trust and the City Council.  Funding has been sourced from Edinburgh Airport, Neighbourhood Partnership, Historic Environment Scotland, Sir Tom Farmer Foundation, Sir James Miller (Edinburgh) Trust and the partner organisations.


While pleased to see the completion of repairs to the Weir and the replacement fish-pass, CC has reported its concerns to the City Council, Riverlife and SEPA over the considerable quantities of stone left in the riverbed.  This stone was washed into the main stream of the river from the temporary causeway and storage area following floods earlier in the year and has become very obvious during recent low river flows.

Aspects of particular concern include –

  1. diversion of river flows away from the fishpass and lamprey ‘ladder’ access points – potentially reducing the effectiveness of these facilities during low water flows
  2. diversion of the river towards Fair-a-Far ruins – increasing the potential for undermining the foundations, especially following storm events
  3. potential ecological impacts of new ‘islands’ and changes in river flows due to introduced materials within the riverbed.

It is understood the SEPA’s regulatory officers are investigating the Community Council’s concerns and, in a recent, up-date say that they understand that the City Council and Forth Fisheries Trust recognise the issues and are taking these up with the contractors.

Forget-me-Not Garden

Working with the Forget-me-Not Garden Trustees the Community Council has submitted a planning application in support of the change of use of the gate house at Lauriston Castle to form a community hub with drop-in café and sensory garden for people with dementia and their carers.

18 Whitehouse Road/Cramond Glebe Road and the TRO

At a recent meeting with local roads officials the CC was advised that the TRO which had been promoted earlier in the year in support of restrictions arising out of the proposed care home at this address has been suspended.   A new TRO will be developed over the coming months that represents more of a holistic traffic management plan for Cramond Glebe Road.  We should expect to see this in the Autumn.

Bus Services and Roadworks Disruptions – An Opportunity

Despite our best efforts to keep residents informed about the planned roadworks and consequential changes to bus routes we have been thwarted by a late despite between Scottish Power and the contractor selected to carry out the works.  The CC has been told that the work will commence on Thursday 21 June and with it the temporary changes to the route of the city bound 41 bus service.

Many may see this temporary route as one we would wish to see formally adopted by Lothian Buses and a mandate for the CC to seek such an adaptation will be sought at the meeting on 21 June.

Barnton Junction

The CC’s Barnton Junction paper was considered by the North West Localities Committee at its meeting in the City Chambers on 19 June and a deputation comprising your new and re-invigorated Chair, Andrew Mather and your Secretary made a presentation and answered various questions.  The key things to take out of this is that the Committee is well sighted on the issue, on our proposals, on their provenance and we have their assurances of the requirement for officials to give due consideration to the contents and there is commitment from officials to deliver on a number of these – some sooner than others.  There is also to be a Strategic Transport Review focusing on the A90 Queensferry Road corridor.  An appetite to work with transport providers to secure better public transport links especially from the north (and to consider measures designed to help flows).

Garden Waste Services

Note the Council website has in recent days included information on the proposed charging for the brown bins garden refuse collection.  Couched in terms suggestive of a welcome new service the info is light on the issue this CC has raised in the past – that of buildings of multiple-ownership with shared gardens.   The Council is in danger of repeating the same mistakes it made when its abrogated responsibility for “enforcing common repairs” which has compromised the structural integrity and safety of several properties in Edinburgh.

Health and Social Care Services

From attendance at a recent LIP development day on health and social care there are signs of progress, but the CC needs to press for proper engagement with the new structures and with the GP practice.  The agenda seems positive but support and challenge on progress may be required.

Acronym’s used in these minutes

  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CC = Community Council
  • TRO = Traffic Regulation Order
  • LDP = Local Development Plan
  • SEPA = Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Date of Next Meeting

  • Thursday 20 September 2018