18th April 2011 12th April 2010 20th April 2009 4th June 2008 5th April 2007 26th May 2006 12th Sept 2005

Brown's Place Residents' Association Annual Meeting
on 18 April 2011 at Elspeth's

Present:

Elspeth (Chair), Jennifer (Treasurer), David (Secretary), Lizzie, Rosie, Marleen, Maisie, Christina.

Minutes

Minutes for 2010 were approved unanimously.

Financial Report

Despite a slight under-spend it was agreed to keep annual gardening subscriptions at 50 for the forthcoming year. These are now due (so please pay promptly, cheques payable to Browns Place Residents Association, if you prefer a bank transfer please liaise with Jennifer).

The Garden

The gardener will be asked whether the rowan should be staked again. It was agreed to replace the lavender, preferably with a more compact and hardier species.

The Front Gate

Elspeth is arranging for this to be repaired, preferably with a robust latch, perhaps a 'closer', expected to cost in the order of 100.

Art Roch

Rosie hopes to be free to attend the Licensing Board hearing on 26 April. Increasing noise is the principal problem, even if the license is not issued. It is important to log complaints about noise with the police (Tel: 311 3131).

Porteous Pend

Steps are afoot to close the Pend with controlled access for residents only. It was agreed that our principal concern is to ensure builders' access when necessary. We will benefit from increased security at the rear of Nos. 2,4 & 5. It may be possible to arrange access to the bin store if residents of Brown's Place contribute to whatever entry system is decided upon.

Graffiti

The Council will no longer clean up graffiti free of charge. Owners will be responsible for cleaning graffiti appearing on their own property. Owners can ask the Council to clean graffiti at a charge of 80 an hour by calling tel: 529 3030.

Energy Efficiency Survey

It is intended to arrange a thermal imaging survey of Browns Place in November, with the possibility of an energy efficiency workshop shortly thereafter. This was generally welcomed.

Bikes/Compost

It was agreed that bike rack provision for four bikes should be made in the SW corner of the front green, adjacent to the left side of the buttress, and also a compost bin on the right side of the buttress. Re. bike racks, Rosie to investigate the most suitable arrangement and cost, including possible grant.

Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at 7 30pm
on 12 April 2010 at David & Lizzie's

Present:

Elspeth (Chair), Jennifer (Treasurer), David (Acting Secretary), Lizzie, Annabel, Rosie, Christina, Maisie, Jane.
Apologies: Alonso, Neil, Aidan, Carys.

Minutes

Minutes of the 2009 meeting were approved, proposed Jane; seconded David.

Financial Report

Jennifer presented the report for the period. Despite a slight overspend due to exceptional gardening outgoings, it was agreed to keep the annual subscription for gardening at 50 per household for the forthcoming year. SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW DUE, prompt payment would be appreciated, cheques payable to Brown's Place Residents Association (if you prefer to make a bank transfer, please contact Jennifer for relevant details). Jennifer explained the need for a third cheque signatory, and Christina kindly volunteered.

The Garden

The state of the garden was discussed at some length. It was agreed that the support for the rowan tree would be removed in the autumn, once it had shed its leaves, one or two plants cut back (with remedial re-turfing) or replaced, and dead ivy removed from spouting at rear. Jennifer and Jane to confer with contractor, as appropriate.

BPRA website

General appreciation was expressed regarding the quality of the website and Jennifer and Elspeth's hard work to achieve it. Jennifer explained the political value of the website, establishing BPRA as a significant presence in the Vennel, particularly in dealings with the City Council regarding developments or incidents in the Vennel. Everyone was asked to contribute comments, suggestions or criticisms in order to maintain the website's relevance, including photographs to record both positive and negative life on the Vennel steps.

Graffiti, and developments in the Vennel and Grassmarket.

Elspeth stressed the importance of constant vigilance regarding the way the Vennel was used and treated (for example by the new hostel). She urged everyone to phone the relevant Council office (see website page for phone numbers) to get problems sorted out quickly. As she pointed out, officials and the police often wait until there are several complaints before acting, so it is important to pick up the phone.

Appointment of Office Bearers

David was appointed as the permanent BPRA secretary.

Membership of BPRA

Annabel raised the question of who, actually, belonged to BPRA, and if it was residents, as the name implied, should not all tenants be invited. After a brief discussion of the genesis of BPRA (when most were indeed initially owner-occupiers rather than tenants) it was agreed to invite all tenants to belong. David agreed to draft a note of invitation for hand delivery.

Owners

Elspeth stressed the importance that where properties were let to tenants through agents, such agents must be briefed by owners on the mechanisms for repairs, etc to the fabric of the property, as it affected other residents.

Front green railings

Should these be repainted or not? Repainting involves cutting back plants. It was agreed, since it was already dark, that a decision would be taken at the next BPRA meeting. So please look at the state of the railings and decide what you favour by then!

Contact list

Jennifer kindly circulated a paper contact list, available from her by e-mail for those not present.


Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at Elspeth's
On Monday 20th April 2009 at 7.30pm

Present: Jennifer, Treasurer; Robert and Carolyn, Secretaries; Elspeth, Chair; Jane, Maisie.

Apologies: Alonso, David, Lizzie, Christine.

Election of Office Bearers

The position of Secretary has become available due to the resignation of Robert and Carolyn. The Committee thanked them for their hard work.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the last meeting were approved - proposed: Jane, seconded: Maisie.

Financial Report

Jennifer circulated and briefed everyone on the financial report to date with projected income and expenditure till the end of the year. A vote of thanks was given to Jennifer for the accounting. It was agreed that the annual subscription for the garden fund should remain at 50 per household. Action: ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DUE NOW - cheques should be made payable to Brown's Place Residents' Association and forwarded to Jennifer.

Garden

Discussions were had regarding the wind blown tree in the front garden and also the pruning of ivy from the walls. Rob and Jennifer to speak to the contractor about our need for more frequent and regular visits.

Gates and Railings

A quotation was circulated by Elspeth regarding the renovation of the gates and railings to Brown's place. Action: It was agreed that an email should be circulated regarding the cost and that painting the railings should be dropped as too expensive.

Graffiti

Elspeth agreed to be the contact for the graffiti removal.

Vennel Improvements

Improvements to the Vennel have been progressing well, with the addition of the new steps and also the new lights running down the centre of the steps. Thanks were given to Jane for persisting in repositioning of the light for No. 4.

Website

Alterations are due to be made to the website indicating the newly established recycling points at the top of the Vennel and changes to the names of the various shops around The Grassmarket.

Contact List

There have been no objections to the introduction of a contact list.


Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at Elspeth's
On Wednesday 4th June 2008 at 7.30pm

Present: Jennifer, Treasurer; Robert and Carolyn, Secretaries; Elspeth, Jane, Christine, Maisie.

Apologies: Alonso, David, Aidan, Annabel, Susie.

Election of Office Bearers

The position of Chair has been taken by Elspeth.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Financial Report

Jennifer circulated and briefed everyone on the financial report to date with projected income and expenditure till the end of the year. A vote of thanks was given to Jennifer for the accounting. It was noted that increased dumping fees had affected the proposed budget for the year, but it was agreed that the annual subscription for the garden fund should remain at £50 per household.

Action: ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DUE NOW - cheques should be made payable to Brown's Place Residents Association and forwarded to Jennifer.

Garden

Everyone was happy with the garden and discussed the present situation. Suggestions were made regarding the pruning of trees that over hung pathways. According to the contractor they will be pruned when their cones have dropped.

Gates and Railings

Elspeth volunteered to acquire quotations for the repairing of gates to Brown's Place. It was agreed that the painting of gates and railings should coincide with windows and doors.

Graffiti

Robert and Carolyn have put themselves forward as an additional contact for the graffiti removal along with Jennifer.

Vennel Improvements

Action: Jane to speak to Richard Miller regarding the lighting outside No.4 and also the repair of the railings on the stairs.

Website

It was suggested that all Residents look at the website and advise Jennifer of any alterations that need to be done.

Contact List

A preliminary proposal was put forward that a contact list of names and phone numbers be drawn up for everyone in Brown's Place in case of emergencies or disturbances. If there are any queries or objections to this matter, please inform Jennifer.


Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at Jennifer's
On Friday 5th April 2007 at 7pm.

Present: Jane, Chair; Jennifer, Treasurer; Elspeth, Secretary; Dan; Katie; Christeen; Maisie; Michael; Carolyn; Robert.

Apologies: Alonso.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of the 26th May 2006 were approved

Election of Office bearers

The position of office bearers was discussed in the light of Jane's resignation. Action: It was agreed that Jane transfer responsibility of Chairperson to Michael. Elspeth would in due course familiarise Carolyn and Robert to take over the role of Secretary. Jennifer agreed to continue as Treasurer.

Financial report

Jennifer circulated and briefed everyone about the financial report to date with projected income and expenditure until the end of the year. It was agreed to keep the annual subscription to the garden fund at 50 per household. Action: ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW DUE - cheques should be made payable to Brown's Place Residents Association and forwarded to Jennifer.

Garden

Everyone was happy with the garden and discussed the present situation. Jennifer agreed to discuss with the gardener arrangements for when he has an operation. A compost bin has been organised by Katie in the back garden for everyone's use. All were appreciative of this addition.

Gates and Railings

Action: Jane to speak to her contact about costs for repairing the gates and railings. If anyone else has any suggestions they should forward them on to Michael.

Graffiti

Graffiti was discussed as a problem in the Vennel. Action: Michael to write to relevant owners.

Brown's Place Website

Michael will discuss with the Secretaries any improvements that could be made to the site. Action: All contributions are welcome from residents.

Recycling

The closest recycling points were identified and a discussion occurred about further amenities.

Improvements to the Vennel and Grassmarket

Jane updated the group on the latest developments.

Any other business

None.


Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at Jennifer's
On Friday 26th May 2006 at 6pm.

Present: Jane Chair; Jennifer Treasurer; Elspeth Secretary; Dan; Kristien; Maisie; Mark; Michael.

Apologies: David and Elizabeth; Alonso; Christine.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 12th September, 2005 were approved.

Office bearers

Jane, Jennifer and Elspeth agreed to continue in their present roles of Chair, Treasurer and Secretary respectively.

Financial report

Jennifer circulated the financial report for 2006 to date with projected income and expenditure until the end of the year. (see attached). It was agreed to keep the annual subscription to the garden fund at 50 per household. ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW DUE - cheques should be made payable to Browns Place Residents Association and forwarded to Jennifer. Because of the new payment system for the gardener, it is important that subscriptions should be paid promptly.

Garden

Everyone was happy with the garden and with Jimmy's performance: he now endeavours to come every second Sunday in the growing season. Jennifer is liaising with him on outstanding items like compost and replacement lavender plants.

Jane agreed to obtain costs for repairing the gates from a blacksmith who works with Lister Housing Association. Assuming that these are in line with the costs received in December 2000, she will go ahead and commission the work.

The Brown's Place website

After those who had not seen the pilot site had a chance to look at it, everyone agreed that it was a good idea. As editor Michael will work on the content and Jennifer will provide technical expertise. It was agreed that the web version of items like minutes of meetings would only use Christian names to protect privacy. If anyone has past or present photographs etc of Brown's Place and the Vennel that they would like to add to the site, Michael will be delighted to scan them The website will also include useful phone numbers eg Council cleansing department and a copy of the guidance notes for new tenants. When the website is complete, owners of flats which are let out will be notified of the website so that they can also include it in their own information for tenants.

The Vennel

A new hornbeam has been planted by the Council to replace the tree that was cut down. Elspeth expressed concern that a Grassmarket resident had circulated a paper suggesting that the Vennel should be dropped from the Grassmarket Public Realm project. It was agreed that action should be taken by BPRA should this issue arise again. Kristien agreed to notify the Council of recent graffiti on the Flodden Wall.

The Grassmarket Public Realm Project

Jane reported on progress. It was agreed that as an Association we should both comment on the proposed plans when they become available in the next fortnight and that also that we should put forward our ideas and aspirations for the Vennel as part of this process. Initial discussion revealed total agreement on the need to renew the steps retaining their present alignment, the replacement of handrails to give a complete set at each side and in the middle of the Vennel and improved lighting. There was some debate as to the desirability of narrowing the Vennel to give the potential to plant trees or other greenery on the wider parts, although everyone was agreed that the inset at the side of the Art College building should be closed off.

For those interested in more detail of the Grassmarket project, the reports of the community planning weekend can be found on http://www.communityplanning.co.uk/grassmarket/index.html Although more recent reports should have been placed on the web, nothing has been actioned to date despite several promises to do so.

Any Other Business

David suggested the need for a policy on parties in the back and front gardens. It was agreed that anyone planning such an event should ask permission from all residents with sufficient advance notice to allow anyone to make alternative arrangements. Parties must end at 11pm. The issue of parties should also be included in the tenants' guidance notes with a plea for responsible management in terms of music, the direction of smoke from barbecues etc.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed to hold a special meeting to draw up BPRA's response to the Grassmarket Public Realm Plan. Jane to advise on a date once the plans are available for consultation. The meeting ended by thanking Jennifer for hosting it.


Brown's Place Residents' Association Meeting held at Michael's
on 12th September 2005

Present: Jane, Chair; Jennifer, Treasurer; Elspeth, Secretary; Kym; Maisie; Christina; Dan; Michael.

Apologies: David and Elizabeth; Alonso; Mark and Antje.

Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

Financial report

Jennifer submitted her report on the accounts which showed a projected balance at the end of the season of 251.15. This was, however, before the purchase of compost and lawn feed or the cost of repairs to the gates.

Review of the garden and the contractor's work

It was agreed that service had been satisfactory this year, and that, therefore, their contract should be renewed, assuming a positive outcome of a meeting to be arranged between the contractor, Jennifer and Jane and provided there was no cost increase. Jennifer agreed to manage the gardener's work as well as making the payments. Items to be discussed at the meeting include replacing the two dead lavender bushes, purchasing and putting down compost and feeding the lawn especially at the back.

The Committee thanked Jennifer for her excellent management of the gardener and her sterling efforts with the lawn. Jennifer had received a report from Green Thumb, a specialist lawn care firm, indicating that the lawn did not need radical treatment but merely 'feed, weed and moss killer', which our present contractor could do.

Until the new lavender bushes are sufficiently large to provide cover, it was agreed that individuals could buy bedding plants for planting in the bed between the lavender bushes.

The Vennel Trees

Jane reported on the meeting which she and Mark had with the tree consultant and the Parks Department. After considerable persuasion the Parks Department had informally agreed to retain and prune two, and possibly even all three trees. A formal report on the outcome of the meeting is awaited from the Council. Our Councillor Chris Wigglesworth is pursuing getting the pruning done. It was agreed that, once this episode has been resolved, we should write to the Council requesting advance notification of any future action to be taken in regard to the trees and details of their long term strategy to replace any tree that had to be removed.

The Vennel

It had been agreed by City Management that the Vennel should be included in the design study for the Grassmarket Project, but with no guarantee of funding for recommended actions. Edinburgh World Heritage had expressed interest in adopting the Vennel as a project of their own. Chris Wigglesworth was separately pursuing the problem of lighting in the Vennel. There seemed, therefore, a good chance of getting something done, but we needed to keep up the pressure. Elspeth had written to the Art College about the state of the Vennel and they have now cleaned the graffiti. She will remind them again about removing the board which appeared beside the steps at the time of the G8 summit.

There are several rumours going the rounds about future plans for the Art College and the Nursery School and it was agreed that we should all be vigilant in keeping our ears to the ground on this.

Grassmarket Project

Jane, Michael and Elspeth had attended a working group meeting on this, and will be attending another on Thursday 14th Sept, to plan the open consultation workshops on the Project at which residents, traders and others are being invited to contribute their ideas. The workshops are to be held on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th, and Sunday 25th September, with people being invited to attend for as long as they wish. While there was scepticism about how genuine the consultation was, it was agreed that as many people as possible from Brown's Place should attend to put their views.

Any other Business

Elspeth suggested she take the minutes, leaving Jane free to orchestrate the meeting. Jane agreed grateful but suggested that the Chair should continue drawing up the agenda, in consultation with the other office bearers. This was agreed. The Secretary would then circulate it.

It was agreed that Elspeth would attempt to find out who owned the area between No 4 and Porteous Pend. In the meantime Jennifer is removing the buddleia.

It was agreed that the gardener should be asked to look at the encroachment of plants such as the mini-buddleia and the hydrangea on the washing line and to take appropriate action to remove it. Kim agreed to remove the plant pot(s. It was agreed that the replacement of the leylandii should be deferred to a meeting at which Mark, who had done so much valuable research, could be present. It was agreed that further steps were needed towards removing the stump. Kim agreed to tackle the buddleia in the back green. Jane circulated a sheet of instructions for tenants of flats in Browns Place and asked for any comments to be sent to her before she distributed the sheet.

Next meeting

It was agreed that a provisional date for the next meeting should be set at each meeting, although additional meetings could still be called if the need arises. The next meeting has been set for 27th February 2006.

18th April 2011 12th April 2010 20th April 2009 4th June 2008 5th April 2007 26th May 2006 12th Sept 2005