Outstanding Planning Applications
At the time of preparing this report (early Sept.), the following applications in respect of which the Community Council has made submissions were still under assessment by the Council’s planners:
- 34 Cammo Road – demolition of existing property and erection 7 townhouses (It was reported at the meeting that this development had been approved. This was a mistake and it was still under assessment at the time of the CC meeting).
- 84N Barnton Park View – house on site of former railway bridge
- 6 Barnton Avenue West – McCarthy & Stone sheltered housing complex (see below).
597 Queensferry Road
The application for demolition of the house at 597 Queensferry Road and erection of 6 townhouses with access from Cammo Road went before the Development Sub-Committee on 29 August. This revised application comprised minor amendments to the gable end of the townhouses and to the access nearest to Queensferry Road to satisfy road standards. The application was approved, despite objections from individuals, CC and Councillors – largely on grounds of over-development of the site, scale and design aspects, lack of landscaping, effects on neighbouring properties and parking issues. Councillor Lang sought a hearing on this application, but this was rejected.
7 Barnton Avenue West
Planning permission has been granted for 2 separate building complexes containing 4 townhouses and 5 apartments, respectively, on the site of a previously demolished house.
The CC had objected to the design of the building nearest to the road, which is to include a flat-roofed, glass-fronted penthouse, as the CC considered that this would not be in keeping with the character of the area. We also considered that the proposals represented over-development of the site. Both issues were dismissed in the planners’ Handling Report.
6 Barnton Avenue West
The CC’s Chair and Planning Representative met with McCarthy & Stone’s representatives in early September for an up-date on their proposals. The developers have overcome most of the Council’s concerns over the development and a modification to the application are likely to be submitted in late September/early October. These will be available for public scrutiny and submissions.
The profile of the major apartment block (36 apartments) has been ‘broken up’ by redesign of the roof profile and frontage to give the appearance of four connected apartment blocks, rather than one continuous block as previous. Importantly, issues of surface water drainage and flood risks will be overcome by micro-tunnelling under Barnton Avenue West, below the depth of current utility services and joining up to the main services in the vicinity of Whitehouse Road. These works should not require major closures of Whitehouse Road and not effect residents of Riding Park, who had refused to permit drainage works through their estate. The developers have taken on board the CC’s previous concerns about the limited extent of internal tree planting and the need for adequate on-site parking – generally and more specifically for disabled users.
Councillor Lang advised that he was aware that the developer was seeking to negotiate a reduction to the contribution it was expected to make to affordable housing given the amount of money they were having to expend to address the complex and expensive drainage challenges encountered on the site.
Cammo Fields Development (c. 670 houses)
Over the summer, representatives of the Community Council have been in correspondence and met with the developers and Council’s planners over this development. We have sought formal deferment of the planning application, as considerable additional information has been submitted in support of the application since the original application was submitted and after the closing date for submissions. This request was dismissed by CEC, but it is understood that Cala and David Wilson Homes are intending to resubmit some/all of their application in late September/early October. This is likely to trigger a further public submissions stage, prior to the application going before the Development Management Sub-Committee, at which CC will be seeking a hearing, via our Councillors.
Recent discussions have focused on traffic assessments and roads design, air quality issues, development densities and heights of flats, boundary landscaping and drainage issues, and path connections with Cammo Estate. An amended planning application is likely to be submitted in late September/October and require a further round of public consultations and submissions.
Councillor Hutchison reported on the enquiries he had been making of officials about the suggestion that the Maybury Road would become a street and how such a suggestion sat uncomfortably with its current use as a strategic road’s corridor linking the A8 and A9. The response he had received had not been satisfactory.
The Community Council, with support from our Ward Councillors, has continued its advocacy through the Locality Team and Committee for improvements to roads design and traffic management at Barnton Junction, to enhance traffic flows and reduce congestion. A Supplementary Paper to our original Discussion Paper on Barnton Junction has been submitted to the Locality Team setting out proposals for widening the approach lanes to Barnton Junction for Queensferry-bound traffic and thereby to reduce queuing and congestion on the north- and west-bound approaches. This includes the identification of improvements that may be made by simply changing the road markings.
In addition, following a presentation by CC’s Chair and Secretary and support by Councillors at a recent Locality Committee meeting, Council officers are committed to bringing forward a review of traffic management, including the potential extension of bus lanes, on the A90 corridor approaching Barnton from the City.
At the CC’s instigation, the yellow box at the Cammo Gardens/Maybury Road Junction has been repainted and extended to provide enhanced sightlines for drivers entering/leaving Cammo and Strathalmond via Cammo Gardens.
The Chair reported that while some other minor improvements had been positively received many of the more substantive elements had yet to be addressed. A formal response from Dave Sinclair remained outstanding.
The Community Council submitted a planning application for the Forget-me-not Garden and Lodge improvements at the entrance to Lauriston Castle grounds, on behalf of the group progressing this project. Planning consent has now been issued.
Hole-in-Wall and Maltings Frontage
After several years of advocacy by the CC’s Secretary and other members, Councillors and Council staff, a legal order and a change of ownership, the issue of the collapsed and unstable walls on the Harbour-front near the Maltings has been resolved and the walls repaired. Subsequently, and following consultation with Cramond Heritage Trust representatives, CC wrote to the Locality Team seeking improvements to landscaping at the Maltings frontage, including extension of the slabbed seating area and removal of the parking area immediately in front of the seating area. Suggestions for alternative parking for less able visitors have been made to the Council. CC has been informed that Council officers are prepared to undertake these improvements in the next financial year, subject to the availability of Neighbourhood Environmental Project funding.
It was noted that a corral had been constructed in front of the Cramond Bistro; presumably to enable the establishment to “hide” the commercial waste bins behind the corral.
River Almond Weirs
Following pressures on the Riverlife Project and the City Council by Friends of the River Almond Walkway and CC, including an approach to SEPA in its regulatory capacity, Riverlife has required its contractors to return to Fair-a-Far Weir and move some of the stone materials washed into the river from their construction site by the early-2018 floods and deepen the channel near the fish-pass. The contractors have also put finer materials on the path approaching the Fair-a-Far ruins, to encourage use of the path rather than the soft verge, which we understand is to be re-grassed.
There have been no further consultations on proposals for Dowie’s Mill Weir works, but these are expected in coming months. Concern was expressed that the removal of the weir would lead to a loss of around one third of the existing volume of the mill pond.
Following public consultations, the City Council and Land Use Consultants have been progressing the development of a Masterplan and associated documents for Cammo Estate and a Final Draft Masterplan was discussed at the August meeting of the Cammo Estate Advisory Committee, on which CC is represented. Originally the Masterplan was intended to provide the basis for a £multi-million funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund; however changes in HLF funding arrangements and resources have reduced the likelihood of success for such a bid and a need to seek a smaller-scale funding bid from HLF and funding from other sources to supplement the proceeds from the Cammo farmhouse sale to enable substantial works to improve the infrastructure, conservation and management of the Estate and its landscape and historic assets.
In the view of CC and Friends of Cammo, the Draft Masterplan presented to the Advisory Committee has several deficiencies and does not adequately reflect the changes in the potential funding environment. Hence, CC and Friends of Cammo are continuing to work with Council staff to identify priorities for future development, expenditures and funding bids.
Given the changed nature of the new competition a more modest proposal was required if there was to be any real chance of success.
Granton Waterfront Project
Andrew Mather and Peter Scott met Michelle Fraser, Senior Construction Project Manager, CEC Development & Regeneration to find out more about the Granton Waterfront Regeneration Project. This meeting arose from a report to the Locality Committee indicating that Cramond comprises part of the Project area. The Project is primarily about delivering major housing and associated infrastructure, schools, etc., at Granton, although its manager indicated that they were interested in leisure and recreation on the Silverknowes and Cramond sections of the Waterfront. A consultation programme will be undertaken later this year in advance of the preparation of a Masterplan for the Project area.
A consultancy is to prepare a Masterplan for the whole project area and public/ stakeholder consultations are likely to be held in October/November, to which CC will be invited. CC representatives indicated a wish to be involved in the Project, insofar as Cramond is concerned, but not to be involved in meetings, which focus on housing and built development in the Granton area. We provided information on the Visions project and action programme and emphasised that we were seeking support for environmental, parking and other improvements at Cramond and on the wider Waterfront; however, there are no current budgets within the Granton Project for such works. The meeting alerted the Project team to Cramond’s interests and the need to engage our community (and Silverknowes) in any future plans and projects.
Roads and Transport
Significant disruption arose during late June and the first half of July with the Scottish Power road works on the Queensferry Road and in Davidson Mains. There were clearly issues involving the CEC, SP and the contractors employed by SP – Clancy. What was especially galling was the amount of time no works appeared to be taking place. We are told that lessons have been learnt. If that is to be the case, then we should be looking to the next phase of the SP works (in October) with optimism. The CC asked some of its professional experts on this and below is what we got back from Duncan Fraser.
“It should be possible to plan the works so that peak period 2 lanes in each direction can be maintained: this would cost minimal extra with works planned overnight and possibly between peaks. It requires innovation enlightened thinking and planning and above all big picture approach with the necessary detailed planning: absolutely possible and
indeed necessary and achievable!!!! For example road works can be phased so that access is maintained without restriction except during 7 day overnight working when either
two way or shuttle working can be implemented!”
And included within the suggestions from Percy Feketey.
“Dave Sinclair urgently requires a Qualified Chartered Traffic Engineer who understands traffic volume, capacity, congestion etc- if there is no one on the Council staff, they must ‘buy-in’ the expertise from external Consultants, the cost to the local economy of these disruptive works must run into £millions! All ‘planned roadworks’ on Major Corridors must be ‘traffic-effects vetted’ which clearly doesn’t happen at the moment.”
Our next CC meeting on Thursday 18 October is likely to occur in the midst of the next phase of works. The CC and the communities that are likely to be affected have every right to expect that we will not have to endure a repeat of the bedlam that arose earlier in the year. First and foremost, we need to know in advance who is the accountable officer and what conditions have they agreed with Scottish Power.
The matter was extensively discussed reflecting the deep sense of dissatisfaction with the manner in which these works were being allowed to impinge on the day to day activities and journeys of people trying to get to and from the city centre. Councillor Lang made the point that most individuals understood the need for such works but that their tolerances fall when there is so much “down time” when nothing is happening, yet the road disruption continues. Then when works are finished there is the issue of the traffic management arrangements being slow to be removed.
The impact on the city is immeasurable and the sense of frustration is compounded by a sense that no one is accountable for what is evidently unacceptable. The situation not having been helped by the removal of so many officials at the appropriate management level. It was understood that Scottish Power are committed to working long shifts when the final phase of the works resumes in October. Councillor Hutchison expressed the hope that the magnitude of the problem which had been encountered during the earlier phasing was recognised and there would be no repeat. But there was no great optimism for a better experience in October.
The response which the CC received to our approaches to Lothian Buses to consider route adjustments and/or flexibility to the route of the 41 was frankly dismissive. The Chair and Secretary are meeting with CC officials on 20 September to discuss the scope for reviewing the route of one of the CC supported services. We will report on the outcome to this meeting at the CC meeting.
The CC had been asked by officials to offer a proposed extended route for the service 13, one of the few remaining subsidised services supported by CEC.
Traffic Restriction Orders and Cramond Glebe Road.
Since the last CC meeting the CC has received and has responded to a draft drawing covering suggested restrictions on the southern length of Cramond Glebe Road. This includes the section around the exit lane from the proposed Care Home. We may expect to see these plans emerging from the Council in a revised TRO in the coming months. The formal process of consultation and engagement will then commence.
The Secretary advised that the CC’s position based on the drawing is generally one of support for a proposal that better meets the wider traffic management requirements on Cramond Glebe Road (and which would go a long way towards reducing if not removing the risks to traffic flows which have in the past resulted in gridlock in accessing and leaving Cramond Village).
If there were legal mistakes or technical shortcomings in the TRO, including in those aspects concerning the exit from the proposed Care Home, then the CC would stand ready to cover these in any response to the CEC.
Acronym’s used in these minutes
- CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
- CC = Community Council
- TRO = Traffic Regulation Order
- SEPA = Scottish Environment Protection Agency
- HLF = Heritage Lottery Fund