Secretary’s Report for 21 May 2015

Local Development Plan and Cammo Development

On 14th May, the Planning Committee held its previously postponed meeting to discuss the submission of the LDP to examination by the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).  Following completion of the Reporter’s examination of unresolved issues, the Council will be required to make any recommended amendments to the LDP before its formal adoption.  It is estimated that adoption will be around February 2016.

Deputations seeking the omission of the Cammo development site from the LDP included Councillors Lindsay Paterson and Norman Work and Sally Chalmers for Cammo Residents Association.  All three may be congratulated on the forceful presentations on behalf of the community, forcefully presenting material issues underlying objections to development on the Cammo site.  It may be noted that one Councillor on the Committee stated that he had been informed by Transport officers that there were no queuing issues at Barnton, notwithstanding the community’s representations on these issues at a recent CC meeting.  Deputations were made also from other communities in the north and west of Edinburgh.  There appeared to be some sympathy for the traffic and others issues received during the LDP process which process was condemned by some Councillors and the deputations.  .

Despite planning officers prior recommendations that the West of Milburn Tower site (part of the Murray’s “Garden District” proposals) should not be included in the LDP. The Committee agreed the motion by the Capital coalition (Labour and SNP) that the LDP should be submitted to the DPEA for examination, but that

  1. the Reporter should note that the Council sees merit in:
    1. inclusion of the East of Milburn Tower site (1,320 dwellings);
    2. objections to housing proposals at Curriemuirend, Curriemill and Newlands Roadend their removal from the LDP; and
    3. reduction in the housing allocations at Brunstane, Maybury, and Bullyeon Road and South Scotstoun at South Queensferry. The scale of modifications to the latter three sites should take into consideration the outcome of the current planning appeal on Cammo
  2. with regard to the Cammo site:
    1. if the current planning appeal is allowed by Ministers and planning permission granted, the Reporter should note that the Council considers objections to the Maybury development as having merit; and
    2. if the appeal is dismissed and permission refused, then the Council sees “ some merit” in objections to the Cammo site and a reduction in scale could be enabled by the inclusion of the East of Milburn Tower site.

Clarification of the above summary may be provided at the CC meeting on the 21st.

The Planning Committee has as before with the LDP ducked or deferred the decisions to the Planning Reporter.  This is perhaps not surprising, as had the Committee decided to make substantial amendments to the LDP at this stage, the Council would have had to undertake a further full round of consultation on a Third Proposed LDP.

Cramond and River Almond Interpretation Strategy

Recent discussions with within the Interpretation Group and with representatives of the City Council have indicated that Group’s previous intentions to seek funding from several diverse sources may be better replaced by a single bid to the heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for most of the required interpretation provision (e.g. interpretation boards, Heritage Trail, app events).  A successful HLF bid would enable faster completion and a more integrated approach to achieving signage and other elements of the Interpretation Strategy.

The Group is currently seeking approval from the principal partner organisations (i.e. Community Council, Cramond Association, Cramond Heritage Trust, Friends of the River Almond) to submit a bid to HLF’s “Our Heritage” fund which provides support for heritage projects to the value £10k to £100k.  Current estimated costs of the Strategy (excluding Roman and Mesothilic sites) are in the order of £52k (excl VAT) and the Group is consulting Cramond Heritage Trust as to whether more permanent improvements to interpretation of the Roman and Mesolithic sites should be included in the proposed bid.  The City Council as the principal landowner would be a key partner in any such bid and Council staff have indicated support for the Strategy and for a partnership approach to progress it.

River Almond Weirs

A presentation was made on 11th May in the Kirk Hall by officials from the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) and the River Forth Fisheries Trust (RFFT) as part of an ongoing process of engagement with the community over considerations being given to the future of the weirs on the river and on fish passage.   The publicising of the event was not as good as it should have been and that did not therefore help underpin the assurance about real engagement with the community.  Notwithstanding the officials left the meeting in no doubt as to the strength of feeling about the determination to preserve the weirs, improve water quality and improve fish stocks.  Clarification has also been secured about the contact details of the various interested groups and further engagement is promised. In the context of the Fair-A-Far Weir comments from the floor pointed to the scope for relatively small scale repairs keystones that would preserve weir and improve fish flows.  Copies of the notes of the meeting of 11th May can be provided on request.

Forget Me Not Garden

A recent meeting in Lauriston Castle between the Edinburgh City Council and interested Edinburgh Forget Me Not (EFG) parties resulted in the approval to go ahead with the garden works although any work with the lodge itself requires further investigation before it can be given the go-ahead.   Churn affecting key Council officials has once again served to delay progress with this development but the determination to see this progress remains undiminished even if at times it seems that the commitment is not shared. .

Visit to Police Contact Centre

Thanks to Tim Mitchell for organising our recent follow up visit to one of the Police Scotland contact centres – the centre at Bilston covering much of the east and central lowlands of Scotland.   A copy of my letter of thanks which is attached provides a synopsis of what we made of the visit.


Ian Williamson


21 May 2015

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