SCC CHAIR’S REPORT, for meeting of June 12, 2017
Underbelly – I attended a meeting organised by Edinburgh Council Parks Dept to consult with community representatives on the arrangements for this year’s Festival occupancy of the Meadows by Underbelly’s Circus Hub. In fact Underbelly have won a tendering process to occupy the Meadows Festival site for the next three years.
The community representatives (CC’s and FoMBL) continue to be very impressed by Underbelly’s commitment to engaging with communities and doing everything they can to ensure that their business is delivered positively.
The major concern however is that, as Underbelly explained last year that the then restrictions to their stay of 29 days made the site unviable, during the course of this contracting exercise, they have been allowed the extend their annual residence to 33 days, including set-up and breakdown. This is not Underbelly’s fault; it is the fault of the Council’s procurement team for allowing this extension to their time. The staff explained that the Underbelly bid was far and away the superior bid on all grounds and the Parks representative asured us the extra stay would have no additional ill effect on the Meadows grass.
However, given that we agreed a policy of allowing residences of no longer than two weeks on the Meadows, in keeping with other city parks, this rankles significantly with community representatives. Heather of FoMBL plans to take this up with the relevant Council committee when the cycle of meetings resumes following the election.
Cycling and Walking Improvements – Holyrood Park to Kings Buildings – I attended this consultation event. The bit that concerns us directly is along Holyrood Park Road and down Dalkeith Road. I expressed our previously formed views that these were expensive investments to segregate cars from cyclists when we should rather be educating users that our roads are shared spaces that are used by many forms of transport all of which should be respected.
James Gilmour of Parkside Residents Assoc was however expressing further concerns that the planned segregated section comes to an abrupt halt at the entrance to the Park itself and unless the Park Authorities were going to adopt a similar scheme this would create a very dangerous situation where the cyclists rejoined the main carriageway as they entered the Park.
Comments are due by 30 June.
Causey Development Trust – I attended a consultation event run by the Causey Development Trust. The focus of the event was new proposals to address some of the concerns that had been raised in response to the previous TRO proposal.
The proposals, which Philip has added to the SCC website, address concerns raised over West Crosscauseway becoming a very congested street with lorries turning round in order to return out of the closed off street. This concern has since been exacerbated by the Council stopping using the smaller bin lorries that would have been easily able to navigate the closed off street, allegedly. There are two new proposals; one to allow limited one-way traffic in an easterly direction with restricted turning at either end, my personal preference of the two options. The other provides a bump in the road in West Crosscauseway by the Quarry Close turning which would only be crossable by the bin lorry or other similar vehicles, not normal cars.
Both of these proposals are a compromise on the original intention as they allow for more traffic to use the south side of the Causey itself rather than this being virtually traffic-free as had been originally intended.
Some members had also raised concerns about West Crosscauseway being a shared space. This issue is not addressed in the new proposals, although traffic levels in the street will obviously change dependent on which proposal is favoured.
FoMBL – Heather is very keen that SCC formally join FoMBL, as have other relevant Community Councils and I am delighted to report that Kaaren has agreed to become a trustee of FoMBL on behalf of SCC subject to the proposal being ratified at our June meeting.
Chicken Club – I submitted an objection on behalf of SCC to a late opening licence application from the Chicken Club business in South Clerk Street.