Stead’s Place: LCCC planning objections submitted

(with thanks to LCCC member Julian Siann for the following. Formatting was added by LCCC webmaster.)

Leith Central CC has submitted the following objections to the Stead’s Place planning applications, namely

(Click the above links to go to the relevant CEC planning portal page.)

Comments for Planning Application 18/04349/CON

Application Summary

Address: 106 – 162 Leith Walk Edinburgh EH6 5DX

Proposal: Complete Demolition in a Conservation Area.

Click for further information

Comments Details

Commenter Type: Community Council

Stance: Customer objects to the Planning Application


Leith Walk (Steads Place) front building demolition

Submission on behalf of Leith Central Community Council

1. Loss of heritage building

The red-stone building fronting Leith Walk represents an outstanding example of art-deco design from the rail development era. (Another example is the Victoria Swimming Centre.) There are few of these buildings left in Leith and it would be tragic if the planned demolition takes place.

2. Architectural imbalance

The developer states:

Notwithstanding its proximity to the railway yard there is little to indicate that the building was anything more than a speculative commercial development.

The proposed development specifically redresses the architectural imbalance between the unresolved present nature of the local area…and the essential character and appearance that defines Leith Walk

LCCC comment:

In our view the developer’s statement is a mis-reading of the Leith Conservation Area Character Appraisal (2002) which emphasises the need to preserve the diversity of this section of Leith Walk.

Secondly, this particular locality does not have tenemental buildings and the proposed red sandstone cladding on the new facade, in our view represent a poor pastiche of the original.

3. Massing of street frontage

The developer states:

Proposal for the redevelopment of the Leith Walk frontage should seek to establish a building height that matches adjacent and opposite buildings.

LCCC Comment:

The proposed development is contrary to this statement as it proposed a 5 and 6 storey facade which is totally out of character for the area. The adjoining and opposite street frontages are mostly 2 or at the most 4 storey.

4. Infilling of urban form

The developer has stated:

The strong 4-storey tenemental form breaks down somewhat towards the bottom of Leith Walk and a re-instatement of a higher building here would go some way to restoring the urban form.

LCCC comment:

This is not a justification for imposing a 5 and 6-storey frontage on an area which is predominently low-rise, in keeping with the narrowing down of the street towards the Foot of the Walk.

5. Structural integrity of existing facade.

One of our residents in the area has pointed out that a structural report by McCall Associates in 2018 stated that the present frontage building are sound.

This is contrary to the developer’s contention that the frontage buildings are beyond repair.

Comments for Planning Application 18/04332/FUL

Application Summary

Address: 106 – 162 Leith Walk Edinburgh EH6 5DX

Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings and erection of a mixed use development including 53 affordable housing flats, student accommodation (523 bedrooms), hotel with 56 rooms (Class 7), restaurant(s) (Class 3) and space for potential community and live music venue (Class 10 & 11), retail (Class 1), public house (sui generis) or commercial uses (Class 2 & 4). Includes associated infrastructure, landscaping and car parking.

Comments Details

Commenter Type: Community Council

Stance: Customer objects to the Planning Application


Submission on behalf of Leith Central Community Council

The total site area is 1.20 hectares (2.9 acres).

The proposal is provide 523 student places, 56 hotel rooms, 53 affordable flats and retail frontage of 858 sq m and restaurant of 1625 sq m.

1. Student accommodation

The concentration of student accommodation appears to conflict with Edinburgh Housing Policy 8 which states:

The proposal will not result in an excessive concentration of student accommodation .. to the extent that would be detrimental to the maintenance of balanced communities or to the established character and residential amenity of the locality.


This is predominently a residential and commercial area serving the residents. To impose a large population of students on the area, and at the same time build a modest number of affordable family flats would be unbalanced and detrimental to the area and a severe loss of potential. There are already a proliferation of student residences in the Leith Walk ward (approx 1543 bed-places) and this would increase the number to approx 2016 which would be 7% of the total ward population but concentrated in and near Leith Walk.

This is considered to be disproportionate for the Leith ward compared to other areas of Edinburgh.

2. Hotel development

Introducing a hotel without suitable parking arrangements will no doubt cause traffic congestion on Leith Walk. The present number of parking places are being reduced from 40 to 31 and there is no drop-off point for the student residence and hotel.

3. Traffic pollution

There is already a severe problem of pollution from vehicles at this end of Leith Walk. Building such a large edifice on Leith Walk will undoubtedly funnel more pollution into this area. The proposal is contrary to Edinburgh Local Development Plan policy ENV 22 (Pollution and Air, Water and Soil Quality) as no pollution study has been provided for the development although an equivalent document this was supplied for the Leith Walk Shrubhill development.

4. Over-shadowing

This is the narrowest part of Leith Walk and the impact on properties on the opposite side of Leith Walk would be severe overshadowed by this development of 5 and 6 stories

5. Scale of building

The mass of the front development and the 7-storey extension into the site is totally at odds with the local low-rise buildings and will result in an architectural imbalance which would be detrimental to the outstanding examples of classical design in this conservation area.

It will also form a hard edge to the site which will be detrimental to the natural lighting and air circulation for the properties to the north.

The Edinburgh Standards for Urban Design (2003) also updated in Edinburgh Design Guidance (2017) states

Where new development is to be located within a neighbourhood of distinctive spacial structure, townscape and landscape, the proposal should reinforce the existing character


new build should not be higher or greater mass than the adjacent existing development unless there are special townscape reasons.

6. Residential housing

The site development is proposing a poor development of residential housing for this location with its high amenity value with direct access to Pilrig Park.

The ELDP Housing Land Study suggests a housing density of at least 100 units per hectare.

With regard to the density of new development….this should be determined in relation to the character of the place and its relative accessibility, with higher densities appropropriate at central and accessible locations.

The provision of only 53 flats is about 50% of what should be expected on this extensive site.