Author Archives: Jack Caldwell

Everyone 18+ can now drop into vaccination centres

​Drop-in clinics are now available in all mass Covid-19 vaccination centres for people over 18.

The nearest drop-in centre for Leith, Bonnington & Hillside is the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, open from 8.30am until 5.30pm.

You can get a number 10, 11 or 16 bus from Leith Walk or a number 36 from Bonnington Road.

Anyone over the age of 18, who have not yet had their first dose – for whatever reason – can attend the clinic without an appointment, while those who are waiting for their second dose can turn up as long as they received their first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine at least eight weeks before. You do not need to be registered with a GP to come to a drop-in clinic.

For more (and up to date information) visit the page on

Our response to the propsed demolition & development on 27 Arthur Street

Last month, our planning sub-group (and Leith Central Community Council) objected to the proposed development at 27 Arthur Street after listening and engaging with the developers, residents and impacted parties at our April 2021 public meeting. We have published the adapted letter below.

The applications are no longer accepting comments and a decision will be made by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Planning Committee in due course. You can read the plans at 21/00991/FUL (relating to the full plans) and 21/00990/CON (relating to the Pilrig conservation area).


Demolition of existing buildings and structures; erection of apartments and associated development.

27 Arthur Street Edinburgh EH6 5DA

I write on behalf of Leith Central Community Council to object to the above applications (21/00991/FUL and 21/00990/CON) at 27 Arthur Street Edinburgh EH6 5DA. Please include the salient points below in your committee report.

The proposal would set a serious and undesirable precedent of aggressive L-shaped developments which would build onto green space and affect the lives of many neighbours. This L-shaped typology would be contrary to our area’s historical and Conservation Area pattern of back gardens and perimeter blocks. It would also create security issues for future residents and neighbours.

The proposal to demolish an important cultural and community space at 27 Arthur Street in order to build 34 flats is contrary to Edinburgh Local Development Plan design principles which aim at encouraging sustainable developments that help build stronger communities.  The proposal makes no provision for new studios, gallery, cultural or commercial premises, which means that the arts charity, the artists and businesses currently at 27 Arthur Street would lose their premises and livelihood. This would affect Leith’s local arts community but also the Scottish Cultural Economy which relies on such places to engage and reach out to all. In accordance with the Edinburgh Local Development Plan, such vulnerable places need to be safeguarded, especially when they meet the needs of the local community by providing essential services and job opportunities.

Leith Central Community Council received a substantial number of submissions from neighbours of the proposed development in Leith Walk, Pilrig Street and on the opposite side of Arthur Street – all of whom will be directly impacted  – and we share many of their concerns. We also note the substantial number of objections lodged on the Planning Portal.


Scottish Planning Policy

The application is contrary to the Scottish Planning Policy

  • The proposed demolition would fail to preserve land use and patterns of social and economic activity which are key components in the character of the historic environment.
  • The proposed demolition would fail to preserve the historic environment which comprises more than just the physical remains of the past. 
  • The proposal would fail to preserve the social and economic factors of the Pilrig Conservation Area which contribute significantly to the cultural heritage and help define the character of the historic environment.
  • The Pilrig Conservation Area and Arthur Street are not subject to economic decline so the demolition and the associated change of use on the site are not justified.
  • The warehouse is still serving its original purpose and has shown exemplary resilience by adapting to the needs of the community.
  • The proposal would be contrary to Conservation policies which should give a high priority to maintaining and enhancing the prosperity and vitality of historic areas.
  • The proposed change of use is not based on the findings of a Townscape audit.

Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS)

The application is contrary to HEP1

The application has not demonstrated that it is not adversely affecting any part of the Pilrig historic environment or that it has been informed by an inclusive understanding of its breadth and cultural significance. ‘Cultural significance’ here means ‘aesthetic, historic, scientific or social value for past, present or future generations. Cultural significance can be embodied in a place itself, its fabric, setting, use, associations, meanings, records, related places and related objects’.

LDP Strategy 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Del 1 Developer Contributions and Infrastructure Delivery   

  • The application for 34 residential units makes no mention of contributions towards the tram network, education provision, greenspace network, public realm and other pedestrian and cycle actions. 
  • The proposal has not demonstrated that additional on-street car parking demand that will come with 34 additional households on Arthur Street could be accommodated without adverse local impacts.

Design Principles for New Development 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Des 1 Design Quality and Context 

  • The proposal would not create or contribute towards a sense of place. It would deprive current neighbouring properties of a vast amount of green and open space currently unbuilt, at the back of the existing warehouse. 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Des 4 Development Design – Impact on Setting 

  • The proposal would have a negative impact on the properties affected by its proposed footprint, height and form and the spaces left between buildings especially for buildings on Arthur Street (which have lower ground flats), Leith Walk and Pilrig Glebe. 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Des 5 Development Design – Amenity 

  • The proposal would fail to demonstrate that the amenity of neighbouring developments is not adversely affected by loss of daylight, sunlight, privacy and immediate outlook. 
  • Windows and balconies of Block A bedrooms (flats A-01-01, A-02-01, A-03-01, A-04-01) would be located on the site boundary line and directly looking into the private garden of 324 Leith Walk residents.
  • The proposal would fail to demonstrate that future occupiers have acceptable levels of amenity in relation to noise, daylight, sunlight, privacy or immediate outlook. Proposed ground floor flats relying on lightwells would be of special concern. 
  • The proposal would fail to provide an active frontage to the communal garden as it would have no windows onto it.
  • The development would fail to have designed for natural surveillance over its communal garden, therefore creating a major security risk for the community.
  • The proposal would create a cul-de-sac which would not participate in the integration of new development into the wider neighbourhood.

The application is contrary to Edinburgh Planning Guidance 2020 

2.10 Daylight, sunlight, privacy and outlook 

Protecting daylight to existing buildings 

  • The provided overshadowing analysis is not supported by the methods of daylighting and sun lighting assessment set out in the Edinburgh Planning Guidance Daylighting, Sunlight and Privacy with appropriate demonstrations of both ‘before’ and ‘after’ circumstances.  
  • The proposal would fail to have referred to the BRE Guide, Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to good practice to demonstrate that adequate daylighting, sunlight can be ensured to existing buildings. 
  • The proposal would fail to have identified individual windows and associated rooms in existing buildings which may be affected by the loss of daylight.  
  • The proposal would fail to have shown relevant levels and heights of neighbouring buildings as appropriate to ensure protection of daylight to existing buildings. 

Sunlight to existing gardens and spaces 

  • The proposal would fail to demonstrate with the methods of daylighting and sunlighting assessment set out in the Edinburgh Planning Guidance Daylighting, Sunlight and Privacy, that it is laid out so that reasonable levels of sunlight are maintained to existing gardens and spaces. 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Des 6 Sustainable Buildings 

  • The proposal would fail to demonstrate that the current carbon dioxide emissions reduction target has been met, with at least half of this target met through the use of low and zero carbon generating technologies. 
  • The proposal has failed to provide details of the proposed “flat green roof”. 
  • The proposal has failed to provide specification for the array of PV panels and their anticipated energy production. 
  • The proposal has failed to demonstrate a maximum use of materials from local and/or sustainable sources. 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Des 7 Layout Design 

  • The proposal would fail to provide a safe and secure access to the communal garden through what would be a long cul-de-sac. 
  • The communal garden would not be directly overlooked by the residents of the proposal. 

Caring for the environment

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Env 6 Conservation Areas – Development

  • The development would not preserve or enhance the special character or appearance of the conservation area.
  • The development would not be consistent with the Pilrig Conservation Area characterised by pitched roofs of listed buildings from Pilrig Street to Leith Walk, and the existing building proposed to be demolished.

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Env 16 Species Protection 

  • The proposal has not demonstrated that a detailed ecological survey has been undertaken to determine whether bats or other protected species are present on site. Bats are protected by Habitats Regulations and any conversion could possibly endanger them. Planning permission will not be granted for a development that would have an adverse impact on species protected under European or UK law. 
  • The proposal has not demonstrated or detailed the biodiversity enhancements which should be a fundamental aspect of the design (Scottish Planning Policy para 194 – “seek benefits for biodiversity from new development where possible”). 
  • The proposal would be ignoring the current ecological character of the site (inc. bats habitats) in the absence of a wildlife survey. 

The application is contrary to LDP – Policy Env 18 Open Space Protection 

  • The footprint of the proposed development would generate a considerable loss of green space to nearby residents and have a significant impact on the quality of the local environment, including future residents. 
  • The loss of green space would be detrimental to the wider network including its continuity and biodiversity value. 


The application is contrary to the Edinburgh Design Guidance – Improving internal amenity 

  • The development would propose a series of single aspect dwellings but would fail to demonstrate that they meet the requirements for daylight, sunlight and privacy for each living space and provide good levels of ventilation and internal amenity space. 

The application is contrary to the LDP Policy Hou 3 Private Green Space in Housing Development 

  • The proposal would be an over-development of the site. The small proposed communal garden would not constitute an adequate provision of green space for all the residents without a private garden. 
  • The proposal would not have demonstrated that the communal garden would have sufficient sunlight during the year.  
  • The proposed communal garden would be directly overlooked by nearby residents. 

The application is contrary to the LDP Policy Hou 6 

  • The 34 units proposal would only include 8 affordable units which is strictly less than the minimum required 25% of the total number of units. 


The application is contrary to the LDP Policy Tra 3 Private Cycle Parking 

  • The affordable flats in Block A would not have adequate cycle parking and storage facilities. 

The application is contrary to the LDP Policy Tra 4 Design of Off-Street Car and Cycle Parking 

  • The proposal has failed to provide any form of car parking provision in an already very densely parked area. 
  • The applicant has failed to undertake a parking survey as set in the Edinburgh Design Guidance.

Concerns about the submitted information 

  • The Planning Report states that the site was previously used for warehousing purposes and for the dumping of vehicles and other goods. It also states that the warehouse is vacant (1.12). This is extremely inaccurate as the warehouse is currently used by an arts charity along with 24 artists studios and other businesses.
  • The Heritage Statement states that the current buildings have “no architectural merit and have a deadening street presence” (p.26) while the arts charity Rhubaba recently introduced a glass frontage on Arthur Street which was funded by Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy programme.
  • Parapets levels are not indicated on drawings, while they are critical to assess the height of the proposal. 
  • Lift overruns heights and levels are missing while they seem to be the highest points of the proposed development. 
  • All levels are indicated from sea level which makes their assessment difficult for the public.
  • The elevations do not represent the existing context with all relevant levels therefore making it extremely difficult to assess in comparison. 
  • The sections are incomplete as they do not represent buildings across the street on Arthur Street (with their lower ground flats) or the adjacent buildings and associated gardens on Arthur street or directly adjacent buildings at Pilrig Glebe. 
  • Relevant levels of existing buildings which might be affected on Leith Walk are missing. 
  • The Heritage statement picture cover and many of the photos inside the document do not portray the site in a balanced and unbiased manner. They seem to disproportionately overemphasise the mess at the back of the site and underreport other positive aspects of the site.
  • No Police report has been provided while the proposal has a long cul-de-sac and garden not directly overlooked by any of the future residents.
  • The contextual views in the Design Statement (p48-49) show no materials. 
  • The contextual views in the Design Statement (p48-49)  show no windows from the neighbouring buildings which does not permit a fair comparison.

Based on the above arguments and reasons, Leith Central Community Council objects to both applications and we urge the City of Edinburgh Council to refuse both for non-compliance with the Local Development Plan. In particular, permission to demolish (21/00990/CON) should not be granted prematurely.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely

Harald Tobermann

Vice Chair

Leith Central Community Council

Leith Central’s Traffic Regulation Orders: Our Response

An example of the Traffic Regulation Order proposed.

Leith Central Community Council (LCCC) has reviewed the above TROs from the Trams team and in particular the section of the route from Picardy Place to McDonald Road (covered by Sheets 12 – 14) and we comment and object as set out below.

Our headline concerns are the triggering of rat runs through narrow streets and the narrowing of several pavements.

We refer to TRO/20/24A (“on-street conditions that will allow for the safe and efficient operation of Trams”), TRO/20/24B (waiting, loading and unloading restrictions) and sheets 9-14 in this set of TRO drawings.

our refTRO drawingIssueLCCC comment/objection
1Dwg 14 (25-03-21We are concerned that the absence of a left turn from Leith Walk into London Road will trigger “rat runs” through nearby narrower and residential streets, and/or extra traffic from a detour around the Picardy Place gyratory, contrary to neighbourhood traffic and environmental policies.Object. Suggested alternative: a short left filter lane is introduced to accommodate waiting left turn traffic. This could be achieved by moving bike lanes east, thus straightening the proposed “bike slalom” closer to the desire line.
2Dwg 14 (25-03-21We are concerned that the absence of a right turn from London Road into Leith Walk will trigger “rat runs” through nearby narrower residential streets and/or extra traffic from a detour around the Picardy Place gyratory, contrary to neighbourhood traffic and environmental policies.Object. Suggested alternative: an outside right hand filter lane is introduced
3Dwg 11 (08-04-21)We are concerned that the introduction of unidirectional traffic from the Arthur Street “extra dog leg” to Leith Walk (opposite to the status quo ante) will trigger “rat runs” from Pilrig Street traffic heading north on Leith Walk wishing to avoid traffic lights at junction Pilrig Street/Leith Walk, where it will cross a busy pavement near a tram stop with poor sightlines, contrary to neighbourhood traffic policies.Object. Suggested alternative: the “extra dog leg” (which has no residential frontages) is turned into a cul-de-sac accessed only from the “main leg” of Arthur Street, perhaps with loading bays serving Leith Walk shops and ample pedestrian space, as practiced currently under TTRO measures.
4Dwg 11 (08-04-21)We are concerned about the extremely narrow pavement at the floating bus stop outside 344 Leith Walk, next to a much wider downhill cycle path. This is contrary to design guidance and has a number of serious safety implicationsObject. Suggested alternative: the bike lane is narrowed to absolute minimum width (as shown near Pilrig St junction).
5Dwg 11 (08-04-21)We are concerned about the extreme narrowing of the pavement on Pilrig Street by Pilrig Church Hall’s entrance. This is contrary to design guidance and impacts negatively on the setting of an A-listed building in a ConservationObject.
6Dwg 10
We are concerned about the extremely narrow floating bus stop platform outside 238 Leith Walk, next to a much wider downhill cycle path. This is contrary to design guidance and has a number of serious safety implicationsObject.
7Dwg 10
We note the stop line for the left hand turn from Smith’s Place and question if this allows for safe egress onto Leith Walk.Object.
8Dwg 9
While outside our area, we note the absence of a north bound bus stop at the Foot of the Walk. Is this a mistake? If they are to be nearby in Duke and Great Junction Street, we would expect them to be shown as part of the tram TROs.Comment.

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

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

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


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

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

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.

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

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

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:

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

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.”