Barnton Avenue West – McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living Development

McCarthy & Stone are proposing a development of 1- and 2-bed apartments in a block of 3-storey flats and 12 ‘garden cottages’ (4 blocks of 2-storey terraced houses) on a large vacant site at 6 Barnton Avenue bordering the Royal Burgess Golf Course.  This development is designed for people over 60 years of age (or with a spouse of 55+) living independently.  The complex would have a house manager, 24-hour emergency call system, residents’ lounge and guest suite.  The proposals have been discussed with the CBCC Chair and Planning Representative and were exhibited at the Kirk Halls on 1st June.  Neighbouring residents have been invited to comment directly to the Community Council.

Indications so far are that neighbouring residents are not averse to the proposals and recognise that some development is likely on this vacant site. Concerns have been mentioned in respect of

  1. drainage – there have been issues of storm-water flooding at Riding Park.  The developers propose provision of a higher capacity drainage network, to be diverted alongside the main entrance to Riding Park, rather than in close proximity to several of the houses.  This appears acceptable to most residents
  2. design – while generally supporting the design concept, CC representatives have advocated amendment to the layout of the 2-storey terraced houses facing Barnton Avenue to reduce the perceived ‘wall’ of houses when viewed from the road (e.g. by breaking up the blocks to provide more views through the site, or by amending the frontage to enable more landscaping and set some houses further back from the road)
  3. road congestion – some local residents are concerned about additional traffic causing problems of access to/from Whitehouse Road at peak times and on-street parking on Barnton Avenue West
  4. on-site parking – the CC’s representatives have questioned the extent of parking provided – specifically for disabled users, but also, in general, as car ownership is likely to be high given the demographics and affluence of residents and their potential reluctance to walk to the Barnton or Davidsons Mains shops due to the distance and topography
  5. golf hazards – apparently some golfers play over this site and there are hazards from golf balls at this site and at Riding Park.  The CC has suggested that the developers have further discussions with the Royal Burgess on this issue.

Proposed Demolition of House at 40 Barnton Avenue to Enable Developments of Flats (17/00069/CON)

The Community Council, Other community groups and over 50 individuals opposed the proposed demolition of the traditional house in the Barnton Avenue West Conversation Area to enable the unsympathetic flatted development of 10 apartments.  The proposed demolition of the traditional house has been withdrawn.  

Cammo Estate Advisory Committee – Report by Peter Scott

CBCC is represented on Cammo Estate Advisory Committee along with National Trust for Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Friends of Cammo and Cramond Association.  This Committee reports to the City Council, as manager of the Estate parkland, and is serviced by Council staff.  For the last 4 years, I represented CBCC on the Advisory Committee.

Following recent discussions over some aspects of the management of the Estate, I am now seeking agreement on some key principles, which have guided my contributions to the Advisory Committee, to ensure that I am accurately representing the views of CC members and the wider community, insofar as these can be summarised and generalised.

Knowing that CBCC supports the way in which I, or subsequent members of the CC, represent the communities’ interests is of particular relevance as a bid for multi-£m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is being developed, which will help to ‘gear up’ the proceeds from the Farmhouse sale which are ring-fenced for capital development works at Cammo Estate

I would appreciate endorsement of the principles that, in representing our communities’ interests, CBCC should

  1. continue to represent the communities it serves on the Advisory Committee and in other discussions of relevance to Cammo Estate’s current and future management, including the group developing a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for the Estate
  2. fully support the Council and Friends of Cammo in seeking HLF and other external funding for –
    1. conserving and enhancing the landscape, natural and built heritage, recreational and educational values of the Estate
    2. potentially extending the Estate to encompass Mauseley Hill, Cammo Water Tower and the Portugal Garden
    3. restore elements of the built heritage – e.g. Stables and Walled Garden for public benefit
  3. make the Estate attractive to a wider ‘audience’ (currently mostly dog-walkers) and strengthen its infrastructure to cope with pressures from new housing developments (e.g. Cammo Fields, Maybury)
  4. in recognition of Cammo Estate’s ‘historic gardens and designed landscapes’ designation, the intrinsic values of remaining features of the designed landscape and recognition that the ‘designed’ landscapes of Cammo have changed in style and structure over the years, continue to seek a balanced approach between landscaping proposals and activities (e.g. tree planting), which seek to conserve and, where appropriate, strengthen historic features of the landscape (e.g. key avenues of trees and vistas) and those which seek to make the landscape more relevant to current amenity and conservation management aims.  In particular, CBCC will
    1. seek to ensure that any significant landscape changes are consistent with agreed management plans and subject to consultations with relevant interests
    2. advocate that preference be given in planting schemes to the use of native species, as these are generally more attractive to wildlife and more compatible with the traditional landscape character of Cammo, other than at the Pinetum and Portugal Garden
  5. seek improvements to the recreational amenities of Cammo Estate, to make it more accessible and attractive to a wider range of interests, insofar as such improvement do not adversely impact the intrinsic natural and built heritage values of the Estate.  In particular, CBCC will continue to advocate
    1. enhanced ‘all abilities ‘access within the Estate, including more wheel-chair accessible paths and more seating
    2. enhanced interpretation of the historic values of the Estate
    3. improved car and cycle parking provision.

Harbour-side Hole-in-the-Wall and Potential Future Residential Development

CBCC members and others will be aware of the on-going saga, whereby the CC and local councillors have been encouraging Richard Neville Towle to repair the wall in his ownership, which has collapsed onto the Harbour-side land owned by the City Council adjacent to the Maltings frontage.  This collapsed wall has been a long-time eyesore and safety hazard and the adjacent wall is in danger of collapse.

As no progress has been achieved through persuasion, the CC and our local councillors have been pressurising the Council to make an order under the roads legislation to require repairs to the above-mentioned walls.  We understand that Council staff have now been instructed to progress this matter.  However, a statutory order under the roads legislation only requires the owner to make the wall safe, not necessarily to restore it to its previous condition.

Section 179 of the Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1967 provides that, where the amenity of land is adversely affected by the condition of that land, the planning authority may serve a statutory notice requiring the owner or occupier to undertake such steps as required to resolve the adverse effects within the time period specified in the order.  Hence, as restoration of the wall is the community’s desired solution, the CC has written to the Council’s Planning Service requesting that it serves such a statutory notice requiring the owner to reinstate the wall and thereby prevent further deterioration of the amenity of this important and much visited part of Cramond Conservation Area.  We have copied this request to our councillors to seek their support.

In the meantime, it is understood that Neville Towle is proposing to build a house on the land – presumably with access from the Harbour frontage and across the amenity land.  Cramond Heritage Trust and Cramond Association investigating the potential acquisition or lease of this this amenity land under the Community Empowerment legislation to secure its amenity and enable the development of a disabled access lift to the Maltings, while preventing the development.   Note also that more recently it has been mooted that there may be scope for the lease between CEC and the Heritage Trust being expanded to include the strip of land in front of the Maltings in order to facilitate the development of the said access.

It is recommended that CC members consider the above situation and

  1. endorse the CC’s advocacy of a statutory notice under the planning acts to seek restoration of the collapsed wall and repair of the hazardous wall and seek support of our local councillors for such action
  2. agree to the principles that, in order to protect the integrity of the historic character and visual qualities of the Harbour-side buildings and this part of Cramond Conservation Area –
    1.  no new development should be undertaken in front of the current west-facing building line of the buildings containing the Maltings
    2.  no new development involving vehicular access from the Harbour should be permitted. To do so would be in direct contradiction of the stated intent of Council officers to take steps to introduce further controls on vehicular access to this area.
  3. support the requirement for every effort to be made to fully explore the scope for including the strip of land in front of the Maltings within the terms of the lease agreement between the Heritage Trust and the CEC. Note that Cramond Heritage Trust and Cramond Association may be seeking community ownership/lease of the amenity land adjacent to the hole-in-the-wall should this be required.  Their ability to pursue this possibility is helped by virtue of their charitable status.

Almond Community Safety Forum

The Almond Community Safety Forum is a subgroup of the Almond Neighbourhood Partnership, and as such is currently in limbo.

Prior to achieving this state of inactivity, the Community Safety Forum had been established for several years and met quarterly to discuss and decide on community safety priorities for the coming period. The Forum was a discussion and feedback meeting, consisting of officers from Police Scotland and West Neighbourhood Team, as well as representatives from community organisations. Arising out of discussions at the meetings, up to three priorities were identified for local community Police Scotland officers to address in partnership with relevant agencies. At the next meeting of the Forum, updates on these priorities were provided and depending on progress made could be replaced with other priorities. The forum also provided an opportunity for two-way information reporting on matters of community concern.

Fortunately the Almond Community Safety Panel was formed a year ago as a quarterly forum for Almond Ward neighbourhood watch coordinators to meet with local community police and staff from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, linked from an accountability perspective to the Community Safety Forum, but able to carry on independently and welcoming the attendance of other watch coordinators in the North and West of Edinburgh aligning with the Locality footprint. Local councillors and representatives of CEC Housing and Social Care are also welcome to attend Panel meetings.

In practice, the Panel meetings provide an excellent forum for discussions of local police priorities in relation to local concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour.

The initial drive for the creation of the Panel came from C&B CC members, with Percy, Bert and Tim being chairman, treasurer and secretary respectively.

Promotion of neighbourhood watch, and communication and cooperation between watch coordinators, are key aspects of Panel activity.

Panel officers will man a Neighbourhood Watch table at the Davidson’s Mains Gala on Saturday.

Bus Services

The Secretary along with Rod Alexander (DMSA) and Lucja Leonard of the Village Hotel met with Alex Cole Hamilton on Friday 19 May to discuss the new A200 airlink service.  It was reassuring to hear Alex’s shared sense of incredulity at the route selected for the new A200 service which came as much as a surprise to him as it did to many in the community.   His expectation like that of many of us was that the bus would have proceeded along much of the A90 Queensferry Road corridor before turning south at the Barnton junction and up the Maybury Road towards the Glasgow Road and out to the airport.  That indeed was what the many people who signed his petition believed they were signing up for. We spoke about the decision-making process vested largely in the bus operator, but we also talked about the governance arrangements and in particular what may be expected of the CEC and the Transport and Environment Committee.

The point was made that with a 91% shareholder stake in the company the CEC might be expected to feel able to ask probing questions about the processes for selecting routes and engaging with potential service users.    We also talked about where funding may be coming from towards the costs of setting up the service. And looking forward there was the prospect of a new surface road linking the Gyle area directly to the airport.

Alex agreed to approach Richard Hall the Lothian Buses MD to set up a meeting to discuss the concerns about the route selected and other related service issues covering the area, including the curtailed 42 service. Those present will be invited along with a rep from the airport, the Leith MSP and depending on timing there may be someone from the Transport and Environment Committee. Cramond in Bloom.

With bedding plants provided by the Community Council and sourced from CEC nurseries several tubs have been planted throughout the Village providing some colour and vibrancy to the area, especially on the footpaths.   Do take a wander down if you have not done so in recent weeks.

Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPs)

The Committee structures within the Council including the NPs are under review.  Indeed, we were told that the NPs were to be dismantled only for the notification to be rescinded with assurances that there would be full consultation before any decision was made.   What remains clear is that a forum will be required where CCs can have meaningful engagement with key officials and the scope for influence over service issues that are of importance to local communities.

Volunteer Edinburgh Award

The Dementia and Carers Lunch Club organisers are to receive a team award in recognition of their efforts in establishing and sustaining the monthly lunch club running at the Kirk Hall.  Arrangement are being made for the award to be handed over early in July when the club is due to meet at Lauriston Castle.

Integrated Health and Social Care

The Secretary has written more recently to David White following his presentation to the CC in April to seek his confirmation of the record of his talk and to remind him of his commitment to secure a place for the CC on the local quality groups that are being established.

CC Resilience

As we move into our summer break we would ask each of you to consider whether you know of any neighbours and/or friends who would be willing to consider becoming a member of the CC.  Especially where there are people who may have particular skills or interests that coincide with the range of issues the CC has an interest in.  Our current numbers are low, and the future of the CC is overly dependent on a very small number of people remaining well enough and motivated enough to support the work of the CC.   In the meantime, have a great summer.   We will continue to engage with the CEC and other stakeholders over the next few months and if there are any developments of note then we shall circulate these to CC members and, where appropriate, to those on the CC global list.

Acronym’s used in these minutes
  • CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
  • CC = Community Council
  • HLF = Heritage Lottery Fund

Ian Williamson
June 2017