Secretary’s Report June 2018


597 Queensferry Road – Proposed 6 Townhouses

 The outcome of the above application was wrongly stated at the last CBCC 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 CBCC 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 CBCC’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 CBCC 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 about 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
    1. existing house has significant traditional character, contributing to sense of place
    2. proposed townhouses are of a density, footprint, height (3-storeys), style, roof types and materials, which are out of character with surrounding buildings
    3. 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
    4. 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.
    5. the scales of the garden areas and external drives (5m) are inadequate
    6. there is no provision for turning at the end of the site cul-de-sac
  2. Lack of bat and badger surveys
  3. Impacts on Bughtlin Burn Local Nature Conservation Site.
  4. 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 CBCC, 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.

Fair-a-Far Weir

While pleased to see the completion of repairs to the Weir and the replacement fish-pass, CBCC 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 dispute 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 focussing 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 it 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.

Ian Williamson
October 2017