Author Archives: Jack Caldwell

Our response to recent planning applications in Pilrig

Our Planning working group spends a considerable amount of time responding to planning applications across the Leith Central area, sometimes in favour, sometimes oppossing.

We try our best to both broadly represent the views of our constituents and ensure any proposed development meets current guidelines, particularly as parts of our ward falls either into either the Leith, Pilrig, Victoria Park or New Town conservation areas.

For transparency, we tend to publish our full comment once the application process closes. These can be found attached to meeting agendas at the relevant date.

Here are two of our recent responses to proposals in Pilrig:

54 Rosslyn Crescent (change from bowling green to high-density residential)

Application 21/00528/FUL on edinburgh.gov.uk

LCCC have objected to this application. The City of Edinburgh Council’s planning department will make a final decision in the coming months.


50 Pirig Street (change from detatched house to block of flats)

Application 21/00246/FUL on edinburgh.gov.uk

LCCC have objected to this application. The City of Edinburgh Council’s planning department will make a final decision in the coming months.

Easter Road & Bonnington parking consultations end this weekend

Edinburgh Council are finishing a bunch of parking consultations this Sunday (14th March), two of which are in the Leith Central area.

The following maps use the following key;

PINK – Permit Holder Bay
BROWN – Shared Use Bay
BLUE – Disabled Bay
GREEN – City Car Club

We advise clicking on the links below to see them in better detail and put your thoughts in, whether positive, negative or indifferent!

Easter Road

Map showing roads east of Easter Road (description below)

Streets just east of Easter Road including Albion Gardens, Drum Terrace and St. Clair Road are set to get new permit-holder bays (pink on the map) along them, while other roads are set to recieve some changes too.

View the map and comment on the plans at consultprojectcentre.co.uk/ph2easterroad.

Bonnington

Map showing roads in the Bonnington area (description below)

Permit Holder Bays (pink on the map) are proposed along Pitt Street, Anderson Place and Redbraes

View the map and comment on the plans at consultprojectcentre.co.uk/ph2bonnington.

Other proposals

Alongside these two, other areas of Edinburgh, including Leith Links (dubbed ‘West Leith’ on the Council website) also have proposals that may be of interest and close at the same time.

Coalie Park: future of the space under Junction Street bridge?

Image credit: Water of leith Conservation Trust (image depicts the path running alongside the river)

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust, who help look after the river from the Pentlands to the Leith Shore, are asking people who use the strip of land next to the Water Leith (formally known as Coalie Park) what it should be used for.

Take their 4 minute survey if you want more bins, lighting, a playpark, skatepark or a nature reserve on the site.

Edinburgh’s (2022) Low Emission Zone: eco-car grant for drivers

Transport Scotland (Scottish Government) and the Energy Saving Trust are offering £2,000 to dispose of petrol cars and are also offering bus tickets and money to purachse bicycles.

Edinburgh’s new Low Emission Zone will likely include the Old Town, New Town, Haymarket and the Meadows. Learn more on LowEmissionZones.scot.

Low Emission Zones (LEZs) are being introduced in Scotland’s four largest cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, next year. LEZs are a key initiative established to protect public health by reducing levels of air pollution from road traffic. 

Vehicles that do not meet the minimum emission standards will face a penalty if they enter a Low Emission Zone. Generally, petrol cars registered before 2006 and diesel cars registered before September 2015 will not be allowed to enter a Low Emission Zone area. The date of vehicle registration is only a guide. Please check with your vehicle manual or the manufacturer.

Funding has been made available to help low-income families meet these requirements via the LEZ Support Fund. 

Households in receipt of particular means-tested benefits can claim up to £3,000 through the LEZ Support Fund. This includes £2,000 which can be used to dispose of an older car. The money can be used to help replace it with an LEZ-compliant car or be invested in an alternative mode of transport.

Additionally, up to two £500 ‘Travel Better’ vouchers can be claimed for use towards sustainable travel options e.g. to buy a bike or e-bike and/or to purchase a bus or train season ticket. To be eligible, applicants must live within a 20km radius of the planned LEZs in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For more information on the LEZ Support Fund and to check your eligibility, please call 0808 808 2282 or visit the Energy Saving Trust website here.

 Further information on the introduction of Low Emission Zones can be found here.

energysavingtrust.org.uk/LEZ-support

lowemissionzones.scot

Trams to Newhaven Christmas closures and 2020 progress

The Trams to Newhaven team sent out an update on Friday 18th December. It included the following information. You can recieve these updates by subscribing on tramstonewhaven.co.uk.

Christmas shut down plan

The Trams to Newhaven project construction will shut down from 5pm on 18 December 2020 until 7am on Monday 4 January 2021. Both contractors will return to work on Monday 4 to review all safety measures ahead of recommencing construction activities on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

All main works finished on the evening of the Wednesday 16 to allow two full days on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 for general housekeeping and security.

All open excavations will be backfilled for health and safety purposes and to protect assets. 

During the period of site shutdown, the entry and exit gates will be secured using a coded padlock.  All emergency services have been given the code should they need to gain access.

Traffic management maintenance crews will be operational 24/7 over the Christmas period. The site will be inspected twice a day.

Over the festive period our contact centre hours will be as follows: 
•    19, 20, 21, 22, 23 December 8am – 8pm
•    24 December 8am – 6pm
•    27, 28, 29, 30 December 8am – 8pm
•    31 December 8am – 6pm 
•    3 and 4 January 8am – 8pm

The contact centre will be closed:
•    25 and 26 December 2020
•    1 and 2 January 2021 

In the event of an emergency out with our operational hours please call our number on 0131 322 1122 where your call will be diverted to our out of hours contact. 

Contact details are:
Telephone: 0131 322 1122
Email: Newhaven.tram@edinburgh.gov.uk


The operating times for the Logistics Hubs over the period are:
•    21, 22, 23 December 8am – 6pm 
•    24 December 8am – 3pm
•    28, 29, 30 December 8am – 6pm 
•    31 December 8am – 3pm
•    4 January 8am – 3pm

The Logistics Hubs will be closed:
•    25, 26 and 27 December 2020 
•    1,2 and 3 January 2021

From Monday 11 January the new opening hours for the contact centre will be Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm and Saturday 8am to 2pm. Our email, Twitter and Instagram accounts will be monitored Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  

Leith Walk progress over 2020

  • Enabling works were completed in the early part of the year with the creation of the city-bound running lane ahead of the main construction works which were due to commence in March 2020. 
  • Following a 13 week shut down period due to COVID-19 the main construction works began on 22 June. This saw the establishment of the construction site from London Road to Crown Place. To date 60% of Leith Walk has been handed over from MUS, who completed excavation and utility clearance to SFN who will undertake the main tram infrastructure works and public realm.
  • The first installation of rail on Leith Walk has taken place within the Pilrig Street to Dalmeny Street section.

Dynamic Earth break for Carers

Leith Walk-based charity VOCAL have organised two days at Dynamic Earth.

VOCAL’s Wee Breaks partners at Dynamic Earth are offering a unique experience to visit the attraction on Friday 18th December or Wednesday 20th January as they throw open their doors just for VOCAL carers.

Find out all about the big bang and a time when dinosaurs roamed earth with refreshments provided in the café at Dynamic Earth.

VOCAL Wee Breaks offers carers some fantastic opportunities to take some time away from caring in partnership with local and national hospitality, tourism and leisure providers. 

VOCAL works with a number of partners to give carers the opportunity to try something new, reconnect with family and friends or simply take a break from the daily caring routine with or without the person they care for.

Please visit the VOCAL Wee Breaks website to find out what breaks and experiences are available for carers: also more information on planning and funding breaks from caring.

Help celebrate Leith: 100 years as part of Edinburgh

Favourite memories of Edinburgh at Christmas will be celebrated in a moving Christmas card – to be shared online and at locations around the capital.

Cinescapes – a Leith-based project which specialises in hyper local pop up cinema events – is appealing for members of the public to share their favourite festive photographs.

These will be crafted into a multimedia installation which will be projected at secret locations around the city.

Members of the public who would like to share their favourite Christmas photographs or cinefilm clips should email: deckthewalls@cinescapes.co.uk

Additionally, there is an online exhibition celebrating the people of Leith.

Launched on the centenary of Leith becoming part of Edinburgh, on November 5, 1920, it takes its title from a protest banner which read: “Leith For Ever. We protest against Amalgamation.”

Co producer Barbara Kerr said: “It’s very much a community project. We want people to make suggestions of people, places, stories and facts that make Leith what it is.

“Leith For Ever wil celebrate what makes Leith special. We want people to comment, make suggestions and share online – and if any other groups would like to participate we would love to hear from them.”

The exhibition can be found on leithforever.org/100days

The exhibition is the brainchild of a group of Leith-based organisations, including Leith Civic Trust, Yardheads productions, Leith Festival and Cinetopia. The idea of presenting One Hundred Days of Leith was originally suggested by Leith-based Citizen Curator Duncan Bremner.

Duncan Bremner, Executive Director of Citizen Curator said: “I guess Leith has always had a different feeling from Edinburgh. In many ways Edinburgh history is the great and good – the Castle, the crown, the law – but Leith has always been a working community so the history of Leith is more about the social history, of everyday folk.

“The idea was partly inspired by the BBC series ‘A History of the World in 100 objects’. What would Leith be in 100 things – particularly when you think not just of objects but of people and places and stories.

“Leith is not just about its history, it is also about its community and it has a fantastic mix of assets.

“It is a really broad mix and hopefully a project like this will allow people to talk about the things they love about Leith.”

Leith Chooses 2021 is happening

The event will be fully online in January 2021

Our friends and colleagues at the Partipatory Budgeting event £eith Chooses are taking applications until Friday 11th December with the theme for this year’s event being;

  • Challenging food poverty in Leith
    and/or
  • Reducing isolation / ensuring connectedness

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which local people decide how to spend a public budget.

In the case of £eith Chooses, money from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Community Grants Fund has been made available for projects within the three Leith Community Council Wards: Leith Links Community Council, Leith Central Community Council and Leith Harbour and Newhaven. Good causes / community groups delivering projects in this area are encouraged to apply for funding from this money – an overall total of £46,102, with a limit of £5K per project.

Visit leithchooses.net for more information and to download an application form.

#ShopHereThisYear from Leith to Abbeyhill

Our area is full of amazing indepdendent shops – we bet you can get anything and everything within the same one-square mile.

edinburgh.org have started a new camapign #ShopHereThisYearcheck out their website for more info.

If you’re shopping locally, don’t forget to support them by sharing them online with the hashtag #ShopHereThisYear!

Leith Walk

(see the shops on Google Maps)

Specialty shops include Videogames, Music Gear, Pets, Bicycles, Sweets, Books, CDs, Vintage Clothing, Antiques and Beauty… Leith Walk businesses are open as usual through the tramworks.

Easter Road

(see the shops on Google Maps)

This mile-long street includes specialty shops for Pets, Gifts, Tech and Off-Licences.

Elm Row

(see the shops on Google Maps)

This stretch hosts specialty shops including Vinyls, Books, Hobbies, Florists, Deli food, and Gifts.

Abbeyhill’s London Road

(see the shops on Google Maps)

Florists, Knitting, Bikes & Picture Framers are just some of the shops found around Abbeymount.

Bonnington Toll

(see the shops on Google Maps)

Bonnington hosts DIY and furniture specialty shops inlcuding for paint, beds, tools and bathrooms.

Leith Central Community Council October 2020 Annual Report

NB. This report covers the period from June 2019 – May 2020. This was approved at the November 2020 AGM.

It has been quite an eventful year for Leith Central Community Council and one of adapt or die. We have had to make a stand to Edinburgh Council to keep our usual meeting place, the Nelson Hall at McDonald Road Library, open at a time that was suitable for the elected members of the Community Council; at one point we were forced to hold meetings in the café of the Kirkgate community centre; and lately we became early – if reluctant – adopters of virtual meeting technology when the Covid19 lockdown Started, unfortunately only able to communicate amongst elected Community Council Members.

Following Community Council elections in October 2019, our membership stands at 13 members and one nominated group. Recently we refined how our 5 sub-committees operate, with clear, available on-line remits: Communications and Co-operation, Licensing, Parks, Planning and Transport & Clean Streets. There is also a working group on Parking and anotherinter-community council working group, Community Councils together on Trams (CCTT). Each of these provide updates during the monthly meetings.

Planning

As one of the most centrally located and most densely populated areas in Edinburgh there are always plenty of developers wishing to build in our area. The year under review was no exception.

LCCC’s Planning Committee participated in, commented on and engaged with significant planning applications in our area, concerning hundreds of new homes, student accommodation, hotels, houses of multiple occupation, a restaurant and a building-sized illuminated advertising board.

For one application the three Leith Community Councils (Leith Central, Leith Links and Leith Harbour & Newhaven) worked together and alongside the grassroots Save Leith Walk campaign and managed to persuade Edinburgh Council to reject a planning application that would have involved the demolition of a much-loved sandstone building designed by Horace Gildard White between Stead’s Place and Jane street. Currently the same developer has come back with a new pre-application notice (PAN) for the same site, proposing an online-only consultation. LCCC unanimously agreed not to participate in such a restricted process, which inherently lacks transparency and open challenge and is therefore likely to undermine public support for planning procedures and indeed democracy itself. After extended negotiations, it has been agreed to consult also through the well-understood established methods of a presentation and Q&A to a public LCCC meeting, and – hopefully – a public staffed exhibition.

Trams to Newhaven Project

Since Summer 2018, CCTT have had regular monthly meetings with the Tram Project Team. The purpose of these meetings is to keep abreast of how the tram works will affect our area: both final design details as well as – during construction – timings, road closures, bus diversions, effect on local businesses. communications, bin collections. By providing a sounding board for the Tram Team, a number of potential issues have been resolved/ameliorated.

That said, a large construction project such as this can potentially be the cause of a significant headache for our community, especially in combination with other roadworks in the vicinity.

Out meeting venue – the Nelson Hall – Zoom

For the past 10 years or so we have held our meetings at the Nelson Hall at McDonald Road Library between 7-9pm. It was therefore disappointing to receive notice from Edinburgh Council that unless we were to finish at 8pm we should find another venue. Currently all our meetings have been via one of the members’ Zoom account.

Neighbourhood Networks

At the beginning of 2019 Edinburgh Council rolled out Neighbourhood Networks. As far as LCCC understands they are not unlike the previous Neighbourhood Partnerships. According to their own information they have a key role in community planning processes, and through their new remit and membership, provide a way of increasing community influence and involvement across the city. Some of our members attended a number of meetings, but LCCC had to come to the conclusion that, having no clear remit, authority or funds available, better opportunities for shaping our community probably lay elsewhere.

Green Spaces

LCCC members are well aware that in our area there is less greenspace available for residents than in any other ward in Edinburgh. Luckily most of our parks are in a reasonable state, partly thanks to the various Friends’ groups that have been co-opted onto LCCC (Pilrig Park and Dalmeny Park).

There is another park in our area that should get a mention as it currently doesn’t have a formal name although it plays a vital role in recreation and active travel. Known to locals as Coalie Park, area GRE 193 covers over 3 hectares along the Water of Leith and is in dire need of comprehensive refurbishment. Members of LCCC have periodically raised this issue and will continue to lobby for improvements.

Another important active travel transport link, the Water of Leith walkway, finally re-opened the bit between Bonnington Road and Anderson Place, following 18 months of lobbying CEC and pressing Miller Homes, who, while developing land immediately south of the walkway, had closed the footpath claiming is was unsafe.

Another potential new active travel route on the LCCC radar is the Powderhall Railway Path.

Funding has now been secured for a feasibility study to look into developing the disused railway

into an active east/west travel corridor.

Parking

Having taken the decision to introduce parking restrictions all over North Edinburgh to be operational when the tram starts running, Edinburgh Council carried out extensive consultations. LCCC was able to assist some small business owners and make sure their voices were heard after Edinburgh Council omitted to post out notices to them.

The resulting Traffic Regulation Order for a Controlled Parking Zone covering most of our area was due to be advertised later this year, but due to Covid 19 this time scale is now uncertain.

Profile and Presence on Social Media

We have a noticeboard on Leith Walk next to McDonald Road Library and thanks to our active Communications Group our website has 1600 subscribers and our Twitter feed 1,187 followers.

We have added an Engagement Officer to our existing roster of Chair, Vicechair, Secretary and Treasurer to expand LCCC’s visibility and impact.

I would like to thank all members for their active support of LCCC and in particular those who have represented LCCC on other bodies and contributed to working groups and sub committees, which require an additional and nat insignificant input of time and effort. A particular thanks goes to Julian Siann who, after many years, retired as our Planning Convenor.

Charlotte Encombe – Chair