Bus Lanes – extended hours of operation
Between 31 October 2019 and 22 November 2019 Edinburgh City Council are consulting on extending the hours of operation to 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm. There are currently 2 bus lanes in Blackhall between Blackhall Dip and Telford Road junction in the 3-lane section outside Blackhall St Columba’s Church and also on Telford Road. View can be expressed on the City Council’s consultation page at the consultation hub.
Additionally City Council Transport officials are examining the implications of extending the bus lanes along Queensferry Road in both directions. A report to the Transport and Environment Committee in October 2019 stated :- “The A90 is the main access route into Edinburgh from the north and it currently suffers from significant congestion and vehicle delays during peak periods.
“To relieve this congestion and improve conditions for Public Transport, a study is required to collect data and to identify intervention measures to aid public transport movement along this corridor.
“With ongoing housing expansion in West Lothian and Fife, this congestion is expected to increase. This study should, therefore, take account of future traffic resulting from these developments, as well as traffic growth anticipated from within Edinburgh.
“Whilst these measures will be refined through this study, there is potential for some short term improvements through implementing more efficient traffic control at Blackhall, Drum Brae North and Barnton junctions.
“Longer term measures that are being considered such as junction layout revisionsand introducing new bus lanes, would require additional funding and Traffic Regulation Orders. Further information will be reported to Committee when this study has been completed.”
Annual Report 2022
This report covers the period from April 2021 to March 2022. During the period the key office holders were Stuart Pinkerton, chairperson, Alan Denham, secretary, and Martin Riddell, treasurer. This report is a joint chairman and secretary report. The wider health concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic continued to limit the scope for face to face meetings at Blackhall St Columba’s Church and until the last meeting of the period in March 2022, all meetings were held online.
Planning matters –
The community council supported local residents where significant non residential developments were proposed and which in the opinion of the community council, could affect residential amenity adversely :-
Western General Hospital – application refused due to the absence of a satisfactory noise assessment and its impact on residents in adjacent Craigleith Hill area. A subsequent planning application was approved, the City Council stating that the development would not affect the amenity of nearby residents.
Queensferry Road Esso petrol station – proposed car wash approved without regard to objections;
McDonalds Telford Road extension of operating hours – City Council refused planning permission but following an appeal to the Scottish Government Inquiry Reporters Unit by McDonalds, the decision was overturned and permission granted.
Finance House application – the community council submitted objections to details of the application.
10 Columba Road – a developer proposal to demolish the existing building and replace it with 11 flats in a 4 storey structure resulted in significant concerns from local residents. Following a well attended meeting in March 2022, detailed objections were submitted to the planning application. A decision is still awaited.
CityPlan 2030 – Edinburgh Local Development Plan – in April 2021 there was a presentation to the community council by Edinburgh City Council ahead of the publication of the draft CityPlan 2030 when the issue of flooding at Craigleith Hill Avenue and Fettes site was discussed in some detail. The subsequent publication of a draft CityPlan 2030 acknowledged the flooding issues and the proposal for the Fettes site incorporate measures to manage the problems. Detailed community council comments were submitted to the Council on the draft plan. These comments also included the welcome retention of the Hillhouse Road Woods (Queensferry Road) and the horse field on Craigcrook Road as open space.
Roads and Transport – road issues continued to be a matter of local concern to residents. As in previous years vehicle speeds and operation of the 20 mph scheme was a regular discussion item at meetings. Excessive speeds by some vehicle drivers was of concern to both residents and the community council and 20 mph speed infringements in general and in particular on Craigcrook Road, Strachan Road continued to be a problem. The addition of speed bumps on Orchard Road North, a diversion route while Craigleith Road was closed from October 2021 and much of 2022, addressed the previous speeding issues. The closure of Craigleith Road also resulted in speeding issues in the Craigleith Hill area which some diverted traffic was using to avoid Orchard Road North.
Spaces for People – while the addition of additional spaces for pedestrians and cyclists is welcome, the majority of schemes in the community council area have focussed on provision for cyclists. The longer term benefits of these schemes remains uncertain. Additionally some schemes have introduced unexpected hazards for vehicle drivers.
Ravelston Park nursery – presentation by Blackhall Community Trust in May 2021. The subsequent acknowledgement of a legal problem in the consultation process by Edinburgh City Council resulted in further delay and uncertainty about the nursery building and the impact on Ravelston Park.
Police Reports – the community council welcomed the involvement of Police Scotland in monthly meetings. Where attendance was not possible, a written report was provided. Their regular reports have highlighted the overall reduction in crime levels north west Edinburgh in various categories during the period. Anti – social behaviour as in previous years anti social behaviour occurred in Ravelston Woods and Maidencraig Crescent and the community council was appreciative of the helpful co-operation with Police Scotland on the issue.
Financial support – as in previous years, Craigleith/Blackhall Community Council paid for the Christmas tree and lights in Blackhall Dip in December 2021.
Other matters – a variety of other detailed local matters have been raised at the meetings and where appropriate such matters are often taken forward by the Ward Councillors present at the meeting.
Meetings – from April 2021 to February 2022, meetings were held monthly online attracting varying numbers of the public from the local community. In March 2022 there was a welcome return to face to face meetings at Blackhall St Columba’s Church. The community council is appreciative of the continuing and helpful support at meetings from Inverleith Ward Councillors and Police Scotland as well as the availability of Ward Councillors online for advice.
Stuart Pinkerton – Chair
Alan Denham – Secretary
13 June 2022
Annual Report 2021
This reports cover the period April 2020 to March 2021. During the period Stuart Pinkerton was chairperson and Alan Denham the secretary. The annual accounts are prepared and reported separately by Martin Riddell. The period of this report has coincided with national health concerns arising from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in no meetings being held in person at Blackhall St Columba’s Church and since June 2020 they have all been virtual online meetings using Zoom and latterly Teams. Against this background, this report is a joint chairman and secretary report.
Planning matters – major development proposals have been Orchard Brae House and the Police Scotland Fettes sites. Through a pre-application notice process, consultants for Orchard Brae House presented in November 2020 an outline of the additional residential developments proposed for the site additional to the existing office development. A presentation by consultants for Police Scotland in January 2021 on the redevelopment of their Fettes site (in the adjacent Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council area) linked to the work by the City Council on the update of the Edinburgh Local Development – City Plan 2030 – raised concerns about the implications for flooding in the area including part of the Craigleith Hill area particularly in periods of intense rain. With additional major developments nearby at the Western General Hospital, it resulted in a subsequent presentation in April 2021 by the programme director of the City Plan this matter. This will be reported in the next annual report.
Craigcrook Road / Queensferry Road – some trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order on the corner site were felled without permission. Subsequent action has resulted in the remaining trees being protected by a new Tree Preservation Order.
Roads and Transport – the 20 mph scheme continues to be a regular discussion item at meetings. Excessive speeds concern both residents and the community council and 20 mph speed infringements in general and in particular on Craigcrook Road, Strachan Road and Orchard Road North are frequently discussed and monitored by Police Scotland. Excessive speeds in the 30 mph and 40 mph sections of Hillhouse Road / Queensferry Road also continues to be a problem, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross the road.
Although limited road resurfacing has taken place in recent years, the surface of other roads is poor. It was also noted that the opportunity during reduced traffic volumes on Queensferry Road during the Pandemic was not used to tackle road defects. Likewise some pavements are in poor condition and not well maintained. A number were treated with “slurry” in March 2021 although those pavements in poorest condition remain to be treated.
Spaces for People – while the addition of additional spaces for pedestrians and cyclists is welcome, the majority of schemes in the community council area have focussed in the main on additional provision for cyclists. There has been disquiet about the haphazard arrangements for the introduction of different schemes and limited consultation. Additionally some schemes have introduced unexpected hazards for vehicle drivers.
Police Reports – the community council welcomes the attendance and involvement of Police Scotland in monthly meetings. Their regular reports have highlighted the overall reduction in crime levels north west Edinburgh in various categories during the period. Anti – social behaviour as in previous years anti social behaviour occurred in Ravelston Woods and Maidencraig Crescent and the community council was appreciative of the helpful co-operation with Police Scotland on the issue.
Financial support – once again the community council paid for the Christmas tree and lights in Blackhall Dip in December 2020. To assist the newly founded Friends of Orchard Parks, the community council agreed to provide financial support for some works in the parks.
Other matters – numerous other local maters have been raised at the meetings including flooding in intense rain and related blocked gully drains; Ravelston Park drainage issues; continued closure of Blackhall Library; road gritting in winter and the lack of treatment of pavements; overgrown hedges.
Meetings – they were held monthly online from June 2020 attracting varying numbers of the public from the local community. The community council is appreciative of the continuing and helpful support at meetings from Inverleith Ward Councillors and Police Scotland as well as the availability of Ward Councillors online for advice. There was also attendance by MPs when their parliamentary timetable allowed.
Stuart Pinkerton – Chair
Alan Denham – Secretary
10 June 2021
Annual Report 2020
Craigleith/Blackhall Community Council
Annual Report 2019 – 2020
This reports cover the period April 2019 to March 2020. During the period there were 3chairpersons – Emma Phillips, Alan Denham and, following the community council elections in September 2019, Stuart Pinkerton. Alan Denham was the secretary during the period. Additionally the community council elections resulted in the welcoming of new faces joining the community council and the standing down of some previous councillors. Craigleith Hill Neighbourhood Group also joined the council as a local interest group. Against this background, this report is a joint chairman and secretary report.
Planning applications – as in previous years, the community council scrutinised planning applications and supported the local community where there were concerns and objections to development proposals eg Craigcrook Castle Care Home. The community council also sought additional tree planting on the AMA site at Ravelston Dykes Road. The developers of the former Lloyds Building on Orchard Brae presented their redevelopment and conversion proposals for new housing to a meeting in early 2020.
City Council consultations – comments on Options for Cityplan 2030 (the review of the City Local Development Plan) and the Draft Mobility Plan 2030 were provided. The comments on the Cityplan emphasised the importance of retaining the existing but limited number of areas of open space often with valuable mature tree cover.
Roads and Transport – although regarded as a success by the City Council, the 20 mph scheme in much of the community council area has not been fully successful. It has been a regular agenda item at meetings. Excessive speeds concern both residents and the community council and 20 mph speed infringements in general and in particular on Craigcrook Road, Strachan Road and Orchard Road North are frequently discussed. With the City Council opposed to the installation of physical measures such as speed bumps, enforcement falls to Police Scotland. Excessive speeds in the 30 mph and 40 mph sections of Hillhouse Road / Queensferry Road also continue to be a problem, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross the road.
Although some road resurfacing has taken place eg Strachan Road, the surface of some roads is poor including roads such as Craigcrook Road which received a surface dressing two or three years ago. Likewise some pavements are in poor condition and not well maintained.
Bus services – the community council continues to take a keen interest in ensuring thatboth Craigleith and Blackhall continue to be well served by a good bus service. The possibility of limiting access to the city centre by bus services, proposed as part of the Draft City Mobility Plan, is a cause for concern.
Queensferry Road Bus Lanes – the community council opposed the City Council’s intention to extend bus lane operation from 7 am to 7 pm 7 days a week. It appeared to be an administrative convenience which could inconvenience the local community eg access to Blackhall St Columba’s Church. The possibility of extending the bus lanes along other sections of Queensferry Road was also discussed in anticipation of such proposals coming forward.
Anti – social behaviour particularly in Ravelston Woods and Maidencraig Crescent was raised and the community council was appreciative of the helpful co-operation with Police Scotland on the issue.
Redevelopment of the nursery in Ravelston Park – a community council meeting in September 2019 to consider the potential loss of an area of Ravelston Park to support the enlargement and redevelopment of the nursery was well attended by the local community. The presentation and the discussion that followed showed that the community had divided views on the matter, with considerable sought for the redevelopment of the nursery, but equally many others who gave priority to the retention of the park.
Craigleith Road housing redevelopment at former petrol filling station – the community council have in the past supported local residents regarding their concerns about this redevelopment. Residents attended a meeting to voice the continuing problems regarding access to wheelie bins.
Blackhall Dip Christmas Festival – as in previous years, the community council supported the event by paying for the Christmas tree and lights.
Meetings – they were held monthly (other than July 2019) at Blackhall St Columba’s Church attracting varying numbers of the public from the local community. The March 2020 meeting was unfortunately cancelled because of Government advice on Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The community council is appreciative of the continuing and helpful support at meetings from Inverleith Ward Councillors and Police Scotland as well as the availability of Ward Councillors online for advice. There was also attendance by MPs when their parliamentary timetable allowed.
2 October 2020
Annual Report 2019
Planning Applications – the Community Council has once again reflected residents’ concerns where major developments would have an detrimental impact on local amenity.Objections to planning applications submitted:
Orchard Brae House – 7-storey block of flats
184-186 Queensferry Road -proposed industrial shed
46 Craigleith Road – proposed infill house
Applications to which objections had been submitted in previous years were closelymonitored. These included Craigleith Road former petrol filling station – proposed 8 houses and a proposed care home in Hillhouse Road Woods (Queensferry Road) – thirdapplication in 3 years. The latter was the subject of an appeal to the Scottish Governmentto which there were 150 objections. The decision in February 2019 was to dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission. The Community Council attended a public exhibition on the redevelopment of the Western General Hospital and has noted the preparation of a design brief for the Royal Victoria Hospital site on Craigleith Road. It also participates in the review of the Edinburgh Local Development Plan regarding future changes in the city including Blackhall and Craigleith.
Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour – while we welcome the reduction in anti-social behaviour events, the regular attendance of Police Scotland at Community Council meetings enables exceptions to be brought to their attention. This has enabled regular patrolling of the Maidencraig Crescent and Roseburn Path area and Ravelston Woods.The trend towards a general reduction in crimes in the area is welcome althoughunfortunately there continue to be exceptions including bicycle thefts. The presence of CCTV cameras including Maidencraig Crescent and Ravelston Park assists Police Scotland in addressing these problems.
Traffic, transport and safety issues – the introduction of the 20mph scheme has resulted in concerns from local residents regarding the speed limits being ignored and excessive speeds. The issue has been discussed with Police Scotland and Inverleith Ward Councillors at Community Council meetings. Edinburgh City Council is assessing how the scheme is working and a report is expected later in 2019.
The frequent build up of traffic on Strachan Road and Craigcrook Road in peak hours because of traffic problems on Queensferry Road is of concern to some local residents and was discussed with traffic officials in the City Council in August 2018. A review of Queensferry Road is being carried out.
Other issues discussed have included poor quality road resurfacing, the changed lane arrangements at Telford Road / Groathill Road North / Groathill Avenue junctions. Blackhall Dip Christmas event – the Community Council once again provided £250 funding for the Christmas tree.
Community Engagement – the continued use of social media has resulted in greater awareness of the community council and other local issues, alongside more traditional means such as information on noticeboards and in EH4 magazine as well as e-mailing interested residents . Using Blackhall St Columba’s Church, has resulted in more local residents attending monthly meetings.
Message from Neighbourhood Watch Regarding Blackhall and Davidsons Mains
|Cold Caller ALERT – Edinburgh
The following message has been received from a Neighbourhood Watch member in the Edinburgh Area.
In West Davidson Mains, Edinburgh yesterday, 21 November 2018 a family had a cold caller from an alleged wall and roof coating company in Forth Valley who tried to pressure them into allowing access to their home to give a free estimate. The individual was quite determined to gain access. They had to be firm in refusing him access but he became increasingly difficult. It was pointed out that this was a no cold calling area, but he said that his visit was not a cold call.
As the individual had no Identification, was persistent, pushy and acting inappropriately the family concerned called the police.
The person is described as male, aged mid twenties, around 5’8 with dark hair and some beard growth, dressed in a track suit. The brochures were of poor quality.
A further resident reported that his elderly mother in Hillpark, Edinburgh had also been visited and an appointment arranged to go back to give her an estimate.
Understandably, there is concern that this company may be targeting vulnerable home owners in the area.
Residents are reminded:
Queensferry Road and Craigleith Road Junction –
To facilitate carriageway resurfacing and traffic light upgrading, the Council has made a temporary restriction during the period 23 October 2018 to 1 February 2019. This provides for road closures and parking restrictions.
Note – The upgrade has been delayed but commenced on 7 January 2019.
City Council Consultation on roll out of 20mph scheme:-
Community Council response – 20mph consultation Jan 19
Annual Report 2018
Traffic, transport and safety issues – carried out an Active Travel Survey, prepared report on local problems and issues and subsequently working with the City Council to come up with solutions. Also voiced concerns to City Councillors about the poor standard of resurfacing on some local roads in 2017
Bus services – campaigned for a reprieve for the 42 bus service to Blackhall, but disappointingly the Community Council was unsuccessful. Continue to stress the importance of City Council funding for service 13.
Blackhall Dip Christmas event – provided £250 funding for the Christmas tree
2017 local council elections – hosted a hustings ahead of the local elections in Blackhall St Columba’s Church
Assisted Blackhall School parents association in putting in a bid for new library and worked with local parents about getting better play facilities in Ravelston Park as the result of our Parks Survey
Planning – Represented resident interests with objections to planning applications or potential applications such as:
Craigcrook Castle Care Home
Hillhouse Road Woods Care Home
Nursery on Craigcrook Road
Craigleith Road former petrol filling station – proposed housing
A public meeting was held in Blackhall Bowling Club in October 2017 to consider proposals for a care home in Hillhouse Road Woods (Queensferry Road), second potential planning application in 2-years. Over 50 local residents attended; there was overwhelming opposition to the proposal and the potential damage to the woods and the impact on local amenity.
The Community Council participates in the review of the Edinburgh Local Development Plan – it will be important to ensure Hillhouse Road Woods and the ‘horse field’ on Craigcrook Road remains open space.
Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour – we welcome the attendance of Police Scotland at Community Council meetings. With their support raised awareness around the spate of bicycle and motorcycle thefts, thefts at houses where building works are underway, shoplifting at Craigleith Retail Park. Successful in getting the cycle path at Maidencraig Crescent CCTV enabled. Continue to express concerns about speeding vehicles, particularly on Queensferry Road
Meeting Venue – change of location to Blackhall St Columba’s Church has made meetings more accessible to local residents. Likewise the increased use of social media has resulted in greater awareness of the community council and other local issues.
Traffic, Transport and Safety
Following a survey of residents concerns in 2017 , a report on traffic and transport problems was prepared and agreed by the community council in early 2018:
The report was subsequently discussed with Edinburgh City Council road officials on 4 April 2018 :-
A Blackhall resident has recently submitted a petition to Edinburgh City Council :- “Traffic in the residential area of Blackhall , around Strachan Road, Craigcrook Road has become unacceptable. The regular queuing of traffic in an area designated as residential requires urgent action.” Details of the petition which closes on 31 July 2018 can be found via the link :-
Details of the petition have not been endorsed by the community council and are included here for information.
Hedges and Trees
Some footpath widths in Blackhall are reduced by overgrown and expanding hedges, which at junctions can also restrict sight lines for drivers. Overhanging trees can also restrict the effectiveness of street lights and traffic lights. If your hedges or trees are having an unintended impact, it would be helpful to prune and cut them back.
Edinburgh City Council has powers under Section 91 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 where hedges or trees cause an obstruction problem for pedestrians/cyclists/drivers.
Ideally foliage should be cut back and maintained to:
• the line of the back of the footway
• 2.3 metres above the footpath
• 5.4 metres above the carriageway
• provide a clear view of any traffic signs, street lights or traffic signals