Author Archives: Jack Caldwell

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

Do you know someone who would benefit from a Christmas meal?

MealMakers (run by Food Train – Scottish Charity Number 24843) are looking for referrals of people who could do with a hot meal to help tackle lonlieness and social isolation this Christmas.

They are operating in both the EH6 and EH7 postcodes this year.

If you wish to refer someone in Leith, Abbeyhill, Bonnington, Canonmills or Restalrig who would benefit, please fill in this form on their website.

Register for our virtual AGM next Monday

Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Monday 16th November at 7pm on Zoom. It is open to all residents in the local area. It is an opportunity to hear about the LCCC activities over the last year, and to look forward to 2020/2021.

More details and registration on eventbrite.co.uk.

The meeting will include;

  • Annual Report: brief review of year
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Demit of current office bearers and election of new office bearers

AGM Agenda

  1. Welcome and recording of LCCC membership present and apologies received
  2. to agree: Minutes of the previous annual general meeting of LCCC
  3. to note: the Annual Report
  4. to agree: Treasurer’s submission of Balance Sheet and Annual Accounts duly independently examined and certified correct (p4ff of Annual Report)
  5. This item will be chaired by Bruce Ryan:
    Demit of current office bearers and election of office bearers
  6. This and subsequent items will be chaired by the newly elected LCCC chair:
    Confirmation of LCCC committees and working groups, their convenors and members 
  7. to agree: Dates, times and venue of future ordinary meetings
  8. to note: Date of next annual general meeting: 17 May 2021.

Meeting papers (from October 2014 onwards) are on LCCC’s website on the meetings page: https://leithcentralcc.co.uk/reports.

We are objecting to the Montgomery Street Park mast

After listening to residents and objectively looking at the proposals, our Planning working group have lodged an objection to the City of Edinburgh Council over the proposals for a mobile phone mast next to Montgomery Street Park.

20/04148/PA: Objection from Leith Central Community Council

Prior notification for electronic communication code operators. | Telecommunications
Mast North East Of Montgomery Street Park Montgomery Street Edinburgh
Leith Central Community Council objects to the application and, in accordance with the
particulars listed below, the City of Edinburgh Council should refuse the application.

Reasons

The application is contrary to the Edinburgh Local Development Plan Policy RS 7 Telecommunications

● It would not have been demonstrated that all practicable options and alternative sites
have been considered, including the possibility of using existing masts, structures and buildings and/or site sharing.
● Such evidence, including any reasons for rejection, would not have accompanied the application.
● The visual impact of the proposed 20m mast would not have been minimised through
careful siting, design and, where appropriate, landscaping.
● The application would not have demonstrated that all practicable options to minimise
impact have been explored, and the best solution identified.
● The proposal would be considerably taller than all nearby buildings and would
overwhelm the adjacent listed church at 121 Montgomery Street, Calton Centre,
Formerly Kirk Memorial Evangelical Union Church.
● The proposal would harm the natural heritage of Montgomery Street Park as it would be 5m taller than the park’s mature tree canopy..
● The application would not have provided a detailed assessment of the impact of
telecommunication waves on the health of the adjacent mature trees.
● The proposal would harm the built heritage of the city by being located on the New Town Conservation Area boundary.
● The proposal would comprise a large cluster of apparatus at its top which would add to the visual impact it would have on the New Town Conservation Area.
● The City of Edinburgh Council’s Mast Register would not have been used to check for a suitable site (“it was felt that the industry database was a more up-to-date source of
information – Planning justification statement – p1).
● A valid operational justification would not have been provided.
● An assessment of the cumulative impact of individual proposals where other
telecommunications developments are present nearby or are proposed to be located
nearby would not have been provided. Such an assessment would describe how the
cumulative effects have been considered and any negative visual impact minimised.
● The application would not have demonstrated that the site is wide enough to
accommodate the proposed equipment without impacting upon pedestrians traffic
provision.

The application is contrary to the Edinburgh Local Development Plan Policy Env 6 Conservation Areas

● The proposal would not have demonstrated that it does not adversely affect the setting
of the New Town Conservation Area.
● The application would not have provided a sufficiently detailed form for the effect of the
development proposal on the character and appearance of the area to be assessed.
● The application is not including visuals or photomontages to demonstrate the minimal
impact of the proposal.

The application is contrary to the Edinburgh Local Development Plan Policy Env 16 Species Protection

● The application, by its very nature may have a detrimental effect on European Protected
Species (EPS) covered by Habitats Regulations. Bats are often sighted in Edinburgh
parks and a full bat survey of the current status of the species and its use of the site has
not been provided.
The application is contrary to Section 59 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and
Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997
● The proposal would not have demonstrated that a special regard has been given to the
desirability of preserving listed buildings or their setting or any features of special
architectural interest which they possess.
● The proposal would not have been advertised as affecting the setting of a Listed Building
(121 Montgomery Street, Calton Centre, formerly Kirk Memorial Evangelical Union
Church)

The application is contrary to Planning Advice Note: PAN 62 Radio Telecommunications

● The application would ignore the opportunities that exist in urban areas to use small
scale equipment, to disguise and conceal equipment and sensitively install equipment on buildings and other structures.
● The application would be in a visually sensitive location within an urban area where it is particularly necessary to take positive steps to disguise or conceal equipment. Such
locations include conservation areas, scheduled ancient monuments and their settings,
listed buildings and their settings and recreational areas, eg public open spaces.

The application is contrary to National Planning Policy Guideline NPPG 19: RADIO TELECOMMUNICATIONS

● The proposal would not have demonstrated that the operators have explored alternative siting and design. Information about these enquiries should accompany every planning application. Operators should thoroughly explore alternative sites to find the solution with the least landscape impact, which may help allay public concern. Where difficulties in site acquisition arise code system operators have powers of compulsory acquisition. Although due to the time involved in compulsory acquisition operators will generally seek another site.

The pre-application consultation process has not been completed

● The application is not providing evidence or data from the public consultation.
● The pre-application consultation with the Council, with regards to the siting of masts
would not have been completed. The Planning justification statement notes that the
applicant has not received a reply from the Council before proceeding to a formal
application.

For all the reasons listed above, Leith Central Community Council objects to the application and, in accordance with the particulars listed below, the City of Edinburgh Council should refuse the application.

Trams To Newhaven Newsletter: 23rd Oct

The ‘Trams To Newhaven’ team have sent out their fortnightly newsletter, here are some adapted excepts relating to our area;

Leith Central Community Council volunteers continue to liaise with the Trams To Newhaven team and neighbouring community councils. Please visit the “CCTT (Community Councils Together on Trams)” tag on our website to see minutes from previous meetings.

Leith Walk 
Site investigation, excavation works and surface water drainage installation is continuing from London Road to Crown Street.

Pilrg Street to Dalmeny Street 
This section of works has been handed back to Infrastructure & Systems Contractor, SFN, who will commence the main tram infrastructure works.

McDonald Road
McDonald Road / Leith Walk junction has been shut to accommodate utility diversions as part of the construction programme. These planned works were based on documents given to the project that detailed the locations of utilities in the area. Following excavations of the road we have identified the need for additional electrical utility works to take place.

Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times and Pilrig Street will remain open to help traffic flow in the area. Vehicle access to McDonald Road will remain via Bonnington and Broughton Road.

Trams progress so far
Trams to Newhaven have created this video that provides an update on progress so far. From Newhaven to London Road, get a birds eye view of the project. The video outlines current key areas of the project, including archaeological works, Logistic provisions and approximate locations of the future tram stops.

Murals
As part of the Support for Business package, Trams to Newhaven have commissioned a series of small murals to be painted on utility boxes on Leith Walk and Constitution Street. Working alongside Vue Arts, the project will help exhibit the work of local aspiring and established graffiti and street artists.

You can sign up for the Trams To Newhaven fortnightly newsletter on at edinburgh.gov.uk/tramstonewhaven