Stockbridge Colonies Residents Association
AGM Thursday 29 March 2018
Venue: Tanfield Bowling Club
Committee: Be Morris (Chair), Caro Tulloch, Angus Millar, Irene McGowan(Minutes)
Apologies: Alastair Hulbert, Liz Law, Ian McLean and Rose Pipes
Attendance: 22 including 4 committee members.
1. Minutes of previous AGM March 2017 were accepted as accurate and will be posted on the Colonies website.
2. Matters Arising
Stone plinth and pillars still outstanding.
Flood wall: Be reported on us successfully negotiating with the Council to provide climbing roses and pots to gable end houses, to act as a disincentive to people climbing along. Further planting is also planned along the wall on the bank side.
Be report on the pavements initiative taken up from the conveners meeting.
Note of Thanks
Be recorded thanks to Elke, Ian and Jane for the Yard Sale and Creative Colonies and to Caro and Irene for the Grapevine. Thanks also to Amanda Farquhar Scott and Helen Jameson for the upkeep of the Community Garden and to Hamish Moore for involvement with the Ceilidh. Thanks also to Jane Wood for doing the Facebook page and website.
Special thanks are recorded to Be for her time spent on the SCRA committee and for her recent initiative and contribution in collating information on ongoing issues with pavements and lighting. This is an issue which had previously been raised with the Council but had not been acted upon by them. The hope is that this latest information which Be has collated will finally bring some results.
Be went out in style by Chairing the 2018 AGM and managing a very lively and wide-ranging discussion from those in attendance.
3. Annual Reports
This was a great success last year with some lovely gardens. The Garden Competition will be in July this year. Some tips from Amanda, if you have your eye on the prize are, plant Sweet Peas (Lathryus oderata are a good choice or Daisy, Leucanthemum, and great for June. Also Irises which are ideal for structure in small beds. For full list of tips see current Newsline Spring Edition 2018.
Sunflowers – we will be trying to grow sunflowers again this year. Official pack £1 available from email@example.com
The 2018 on the 6 January was again a great success with a good turnout. Ceilidh raised £240.
Thanks to all who took part and who raised £480 for The Yard Scotland.
There were fewer sellers this year however the sales raised £1300 which was the highest yet. Three sellers, Mairi Kidd, Lucy Williams and Elke Williams accounted for most of the income raised and the event attracted a lot of customers.
Once again this event was very well attended and despite fewer stalls the Colonies streets were busier than ever and a record total of £2071.65 was raised for charity. The 2018 Yard Sale will take place on Sunday 20 May.
Fewer teams this year but it was an enjoyable evening and raised £110 for Trussell Trust food bank.
4. Presentation of Accounts
The 2017/18 accounts were ratified with no objections. Anne Liddle was voted in as Auditor again.
5. Election of committee members for 2018/19
The following existing committee members were re-elected:
Sarah Hill and Caroline Hadley were proposed as new members and this was seconded and welcomed by all.
Be is stepping down from the SCRA committee and Joyce Anderson, after a truly epic stint of 48 years, is stepping down as a Street Convenor.
6. Election of Street Convenors for 2018/19
The existing Street convenors were re-elected with a new convenor for Hugh Miller high/Rintoul high
Reid Terrace High/Bridge PlaceBe Morris
Reid Terrace low/Hugh Miller highJoan Battersby
Hugh Miller high/Rintoul HighLois Ratcliffe
Rintoul low/Colville lowJan Tapson
Colville high/Collins highAmanda Bennett
Collins low/Balmoral highBill Brownlee
Balmoral low/Dunrobin highChris Lumb
Dunrobin low/Teviotdale highJane Wood
Teviotdale low/Avondale highChristine Mclaren
Avondale low/Kemp highRose Pipes
Kemp low/Bell highLorinda Calder
Bell low/GlenoglesAnne Liddle
7. AOB and Ideas from the Floor
a) Community events much appreciated so please keep on with these.
b) Identifying people in community who may need help at times ie during bad weather. There was appreciation for the community spirit displayed during the recent bouts of bad weather and people went out of their way to help by clearing paths and offering to help neighbours unable to get out.
Traffic issue on Glenogle Road with the parking drop off at the Academy. Ian McLean had met with them to try to remedy it and an agreement had been reached but the problem still persists.
c) Traffic issue at end of Glenogle Road. It has been raised with the Council but they haven’t acted on it. LED lighting not yet installed.
d) Parking – Academy drop-offs in morning. Proposed development at Academy – will this increase traffic problem. Colonies objections could include something about parking/traffic on Glenogle Road.
8. Open Forum: Speakers: Andy Wightman MSP Green Party: Short Term Lets in Edinburgh
Andy Wightman outlined what short lets are- lets for up to a month – not conventional short residential lets. Core business model is home sharing and has become a multi-billion pound business. This is due to having easy platforms to advertisesuch as Airbnb. Sharing your own home is the core model.
The issue is with commercial letting – owned by someone who doesn’t live there and lets it out. Airbnb, cheap flights and wheelie suitcases have fuelled the popularity of short lets. The concerns are anti-social behaviour, nuisance factor to other tenants and impact on increasing rents and housing availability.
Should people who own residential property be allowed to convert it into short term lets. Class 9 = houses. Flats not in class 9 – doesn’t include short term lets. Enforcement is difficult – if flat in tenement stair is converted to short term let it is not obvious. AW says it should be licensed and they should have planning consent and relevant safety checks. They are not paying non-domestic rates. Title deeds often say “residential use only – no business use” Most properties don’t have planning consent therefore the majority of lets are unlawful. More than 30% a year you should need planning permission. 35% houses in Elie in Fife are second homes. Question for city centre occupancy – is it a living thriving city or here only for the tourists?
Hal Osler – thanked Andy for his support in this issue. She said one problem was that ECC put high emphasis on Tourism over residents. A lot of the short lets are not regulated and don’t belong in the communities they are being rented. TheCouncil have a working group going – 8 members and headed by Kate Campbell . HO said the Council don’t really want a hard line on it as their top 3 priorities are Economy, Tourism then Residents. The Council Working Group, made up of people from Regulation and Planning as well as Housing and Economy – will publish a document for consultation and comment and SCRA are advised to keep abreast of that when it comes out. Hal suggested it really needs clear legislation from the Parliament whereas at the moment it is up to individual local authorities how they deal with the issue.
Working Group in Scottish Parliament to look at short lets in Edinburgh. Scottish Administration is not totally in control of the situation. Issue is also being taken up via Culture and Community group and so tackling the issue from as many angles as possible. Scottish Administration reluctant to have a hard line on this in case it harms tourism. There is a need to look at what saturation point will be and what does it bring in and what is the benefit of it? The chief resource is the City and we need to understand how short lets impact on the attractiveness of the City both to residents and to tourists. We don’t want over saturation of the short lets in the City.
What are the benefits of Airbnb? Other control options – zone city where Airbnb is allowed. Trend for purpose built short term let accommodation would be a way of managing situation. HO says we need more housing for locals as we don’t have enough land to do this. It also wrecks local B&B/hotel businesses. This is a very fast moving market so regulations need to catch up quickly.
Gus – Council in severe financial circumstances. Tourism doesn’t bring in as much money as people think. The costs to the City are high and there is little financial benefit to the Council.
Appropriateness of use in particular areas has to be decided. Check if properties have planning consent and if not inform the Planning Dept.
Andy – Legislation which outlawed fixed term tenancies. Private Rented Housing Scotland Act. 18 grounds on which you can get rid of a tenant which ends no fault eviction. The idea was to create more security in that sector so how has this changed letting behaviour?
Big driver is the higher weekly rental from short lets against longer let rents.
Comment about involving renters more in the business of the committee. Also the timing of the meetings not good for those with kids – a follow up meeting at a different time was suggested or having children at the meeting if it’s called early enough.
Second homes should also be subject to legislation as well – Andy Wightman.
Could SCRA put something in Welcome Leaflet about short term lets?
Or put something on Grapevine on shared repairs? Council has scheme to chase up shared repairs.
Do we know the scale in the Colonies of short term lets? Could Colonies be used as a suitable place to survey? HO said they will be looking at the Old Town to determine impact.
For more information see the Green Party Homes First website
1. Approx 10000 in Edinburgh – self catering units. There is a 5 times under reporting of short lets. Scottish Self assessment portal.
2. There are now fewer family home owners in Colonies as younger people find it hard to rent and/or buy in the Colonies. Long term rents in the Colonies – how many of these are there?
3. Council could buy properties in the Colonies and rent out. House prices are rising faster than wages. There is a huge variation in rents – and an example was given of £1600 for upper and £900 for a lower flat. 18-34 year olds now are the first generation since Edwardian times to grow up poorer than their parents.
4. AW says there is a limit to tourism. Trends are going faster and are more abrupt with the impact of factors like Outlander. ie Skye “full” last year. There is a cyclical element of tourism. Who do we contact about rent levels in Colonies?
5. View expressed from floor that there should be no short term lets and asking if SCRA could get involved in taking this forward.
6. Short term working group to be established to look at the issue and develop a motion for adoption by SCRA. Abigail to send out message on Grapevine to invite people to join and get feedback on this.
7. Andy Wightman urged those concerned about issues to contact Councillors, MSP’s and MPs directly as they work for us and direct contact is a powerful way of bringing an issue to the notice of elected representatives. The main thing people can do currently is report to planning if they think any properties are being used for short lets.
Our local representatives – with details of how to contact them:
Write to Them
Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee
Edinburgh City Council Planning Department