Meeting notes AGM 2014

SCRA ~  AGM, Thursday, 27th March 2014

Attendees: committee –Ian Cunningham, Jane Wood (minutes), Joan Battersby, Morag Fitchet, Dorothy Dobson, Ian McLean

Residents: 36 (also 13 non-resident choir members)

1. Apologies: Amanda Bennett, Amanda Farquhar, Isobel Bathgate, Caro Tulloch

2. Minutes of 2013 AGM accepted

3. Annual Report

IM reported on the committee’s work, divided into 3 main areas: ongoing tasks, events and dealing with Colonies ‘issues’.


Ongoing Tasks

Website – approx ½ of the attendees had referred to our website in the last 6 months, usually when prompted for the polls and to find recommendations for tradespeople.  In response to what they’d like to see on the site, stories (personal ones from Colonies residents) and poems were mentioned.  All present were encouraged to submit their ideas.  New website almost finished. MF asked for stats on website hits – IB to find out?

Grapevine (JW) – over 200 subscribers-a valuable mailing list, and an invaluable community resource.. Guidelines have had to be drawn up to ensure that messages are: relevant to Colonies life; not of a political or religious nature; not biased; if they give information on one side of an argument, information for the other side should be provided as a balance.  Aim to restrict emails to a max of 3 daily to prevent ‘overkill’ and risk of diversion into spam.  To help with this limit, all residents are encouraged to use the Cols Facebook page whenever possible and then individuals can liaise directly with each other about topics, items for sale etc.  JW and CT were thanked by the audience for their management of the Grapevine.



There is now a regular pattern but it is not set in stone – all new ideas welcomed.


Yard Sale 2013 – Broke all previous records despite cold, drizzly weather. Turnover for 33 registered households was £2834, of which £676 was donated to SCRA and £653.17 was given to charities.  Enormous variety of merchandise.

Yard Sale 2014 – Sunday, 18th May chosen by vote on poll so it won’t clash with Botanics Plant Sale but it will be in the middle of Victoria Day long weekend.  Potential customers will be enticed over the new footbridge (for the 1st time in 3 years) to wander round the Colonies.

A garden base for the junior pipe band is needed, as well as a community cake stall co-ordinator and a tombola organiser.  Hope to reach £3k turnover!

Plant growing – we’ve tried potatoes, pumpkins and, in 2013, sunflowers which bloomed in many Colonies gardens.  Sunflowers again for 2014 and 29/30 kits were sold at meeting.  Ideas for future growing competitions would be welcomed.

Garden competition 2013 was won by 16 Hugh Miller Place.  Propose to have same categories this year ie best in street, best in Colonies, most improved and garden tended by children but ideas always welcome.  Any ideas for different prizes?

Creative Colonies 2013 – 15 participants including some professionals. Each participant pays a registration fee so £132 was raised for SCRA.  Some vendors would be interested in selling from a location which isn’t their home to ease the load of preparation although it was recognised that visiting makers in their Colonies flats is a contributing factor to the appeal of the event.  Glenogle Baths will be approached about possible room hire for a Sunday afternoon in November 2014.

Carol-singing (JW) – Wettest and coldest ever but Alzheimer Scotland, charity chosen by residents on poll, received largest amount ever raised by Cols carol singers of £552 inc GiftAid.  Approx 30 singers inc Cols choir (and only1 child due to the bad weather).  Thank you to Donald for leading the singers, to the choir members for turning up and ensuring the event could go ahead and to everyone who contributed to the worthwhile 2 hours (record-breaking in brevity of duration!)

Quiz Night – February 2014.  Great fun with over 50 residents in 13 teams, raising £130 for charity, Teens+.  Huge thanks to Davie Cunningham as quiz master and Gill Brittle for organising the evening.  If anyone else would like to be the quiz master/mistress in 2015, please contact the committee.

Ceilidh – planned for September 2013 as a result of residents’ desire for another community event to follow the success of the street party in June 2012. With only 4 or 5 days to go, insufficient tickets had been sold to guarantee success of the event or to enable it to break even so it was cancelled with no penalty charged by LifeCare Centre or the band.  Attendees’ comments: ceilidh tickets often only sell on the door; maybe we should have knocked on doors in the Colonies to sell tickets to residents (we’d tried selling via a shop in Raeburn Place); in order to keep ticket prices very low, people were invited to bring their own drink and food, if they liked but maybe they’d have preferred a bar with food provided.  Suggestion from Be Morris that, with so many Colonies residents being single, a party for Colonies residents at which a ceilidh band could play could be a good idea for another social event.

Petanque at Inverleith Petanque Club, October 2013 – about 20 Colonies residents and friends attended this very enjoyable free event as a taster session with a view to either joining the club or organising another Colonies social game/gathering in the spring of 2014.

Colonies Clean-up (JW) – much needed after 2 years of construction of flood defence wall.  It will be held on Sunday 6th April 2014 (meet on Falshaw Bridge at 11am) in conjunction with Stockbridge Community Council, cleaning the WoL riverbank.  Equipment will be provided but please wear old clothes and tough footwear.  The extent of the area covered will depend on the number of participants and volunteers are requested to tell JW if they plan to join in, as this helps preparation and organisation.  Anticipate that we’ll work for approx 2 hours, depending on weather and numbers.



Issues (IM)

Flood Wall – now complete and it’s reassuring to have it.  Problem is that City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) didn’t finish it properly.  In Sep 2013, the contractor, Lagan, was taken off the job, leaving work outstanding on the ledge and the riverbank at Hugh Miller/Rintoul.  CEC have said they couldn’t do the work until the dispute with Lagan is settled.  SCRA committee is persisting in urging the work to be completed satisfactorily.  Steve Jones asked about the anticipated time-frame for the work but, given the long delays in responses (and lack of response) to emails from CEC, it is not expected to be soon.

Edith Wellwood cited the problem of people (residents and others) walking along the top of the new wall, thereby invading residents’ privacy as well as creating a safety risk.  Some residents walk along the new ledge on river side of wall and a footpath has now been worn.  However, this is UNSAFE and is definitely not meant for pedestrians.  One person said that garden rubbish has been thrown over from cols gardens onto the ledge.  The committee was unaware of this.  Chris Lumb had been told by Arup that pyrocantha was to be planted along the ledge and CEC said they’ll come up with a planting plan.  Caroline Read suggested SCRA proposes a planting plan to CEC for their approval which might expedite the completion of the job.  It seems that the impact and consequences of the ledge hadn’t been considered by Arup in the initial plan so no provision was made to prevent the situation which has now developed.


Traffic – with closure of road at Hector’s junction, much less traffic than there used to be.  The introduction of 20mph speed limits is welcome but date is not yet known However concern was raised that cars parked on both sides of the road at weekends, at the east end and the bottom of the snakey create hazards for drivers and pedestrians. Bins left out on Glenogle Road also impede pedestrians but with most now bearing their owner’s address, hopefully the situation will improve.

SCRA committee has commented on the CEC traffic notice about double yellow lines being painted for 5 metres into our mews streets from Glenogle Road, saying that an increase in the length of the double yellow lines is welcome but that 5 metres will seriously affect parking capacity and a shorter distance should still enable long service vehicles to access the streets but not be so detrimental to parking capacity.  (CEC’s initial consultation in 2012/3 with SCRA Committee quoted that the lines would be painted up to the 1st lamp-post in each street but this is an inconsistent measurement.) CEC have said that there is some leeway with the length of the proposed double yellow lines. Ian Mclean suggested that SCRA should speak to CEC in order to develop a plan to increase road safety on Glenogle Road rather than simply deal with issues as they arise. One resident asked if there had been any serious traffic incidents but none of the attendees knew of any recently.


Falshaw Bridge GardenAmanda Farquhar has made a start on the design which already looks more interesting. Any residents with spare plants are invited to donate them. Volunteers to help with the work would be welcome.

Contact Amanda at 4 Rintoul Place


Friends of Rocheid Path (FoRP) – Ian Mclean referred to recent proposals from FoRP about which SCRA had represented the views of Colonies residents. He reminded the meeting that, since FoRP is an open association, all Colonies residents with any interest at all in this green and open area in our immediate vicinity are encouraged to participate in FoRP activities and attend their open meetings to ensure that their views are heard and their voice counts.


Colonies Choir (JW) – 18 months old-31 members(12 Colonies residents and 19  friends/relatives or Stockbridge residents). One key founder member and soloist, Anna, who was very instrumental in setting the choir up is leaving this term and she’ll be sorely missed.  Many thanks to Anna for all her help and enthusiasm and for letting us enjoy her lovely voice.

Enormous thanks also to Jenny, our choir leader, who makes our Wednesday evenings great fun.

Choir meets at 7.30pm each Wednesday at the LifeCare Centre and the new term starts on 30th April.

Plan to maintain current numbers, but there’s a small turnover at the end of each term so new members can still apply

Please phone Jane on 0131 315 4950 if interested.


4. Accounts

Copies of the accounts for 2013-4 were available for all to see and were ratified with no objections


5. Election of committee members – all those nominated prior to the AGM were elected by the meeting resulting in:

Ian McLean – Secretary                                                       Isobel Bathgate – Website & Newsline

Sam Dick – Treasurer                                                           Jane Wood – Grapevine, Notice Boards, Events & fund-raising

Amanda Bennett – events & fund-raising                            Joan Battersby – garden competition, events & fund-raising

Dorothy Dobson – events & fund-raising                             Amanda Farquhar – environment, events & fund-raising

Be Morris – events & fund-raising                                       Caro Tulloch – ‘growing’ competitions, events & fund-raising

No more new volunteers for the committee were forthcoming at the AGM.


IM then drew attention to the contribution of two retiring committee members:

Treasurer for 6 years, Morag Fitchet, was thanked for her cheerfulness and unflappability throughout her post and for her diligence in keeping the SCRA accounts.  She was presented with a gift as thanks for her work.

Ian Cunningham, Chair for 7 years (previously treasurer and a committee member for about 30 years) was applauded heartily in recognition of his hard work for the Colonies.   His depth of knowledge and his strong base of networking contacts will be sorely missed.  He was presented with a gift in appreciation of his dedication to the community.