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E-Newsletter Autumn 2021

Quick update on Seafield site which connects Portobello, Craigentinny and Leith

The community councils of the areas that abut this site have been in discussions with CEC Planning over the past year with regards to how this site will be allocated in the new Local Development Plan. On the assumption that it will be allocated for housing development, we have argued that a new community-council partnership should be established with a remit to oversee the commissioning of a Masterplan for the site.

Our primary concern is that this site has great potential to connect our three coastal communities in a way that will enhance the area significantly by bringing new prosperity, affordable housing, recreational and social amenities into the area. There is however also a risk that the developers will proceed with ad hoc development without regard to the overall potential of the site. That is why a masterplan is such an essential component.

There is also, in the medium to long term, significant risk of flooding to the site as result of rising sea levels due to climate change. These risks can only be mitigated if they incorporated into the overall design considerations of a masterplan.

These discussions are ongoing albeit we have been frustrated with the pace that the Council is moving at.


Trams to Newhaven

This is the largest of all the many transport related developments currently underway in Leith. Before work even began, Leith Links Community Council had been working with Leith Central, Leith Harbour and Newhaven, and Broughton and New Town Community Councils and meeting regularly with the Trams Management Team through an initiative called Community Councils Together on the Trams (CCCT) at which any points of contention, reports on progress etc are raised and resolved. If you have any concerns about any aspect of the work, please let us know and we will raise it at out monthly meeting with the trams team.


£eith Chooses

£eith Chooses 2021-2022 launched on the 1st of September 2021 and is currently open for applications. Along with further details, downloadable Application Forms and Guidance Notes can be found here. The deadline for submission of applications is 30 November 2021.

There is a total of £51,106 available, for distribution to local community groups for the benefit of the community in Leith. Groups can apply for up to £5,000. Funds will be allocated on the basis of a public vote (online). Please encourage your favourite charities or local interest groups to apply!

Voting is open to all who live, work, study or volunteer in Leith and will be held online in the week 24-30th January 2022.

Local Democracy at work!

Click here to visit £eith Chooses website

Travel & Mobility Sub Committee

This subcommittee monitors transport and traffic matters in our area and includes the interests of pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and drivers, and how residents and businesses are affected. This continues to be a very - some might say overwhelmingly – busy period.

The tram works continue, along with noise, damaging vibrations and concerns about the finished route. Tree felling and worry about too-narrow pavement widths are amongst the latest worries to emerge. Delays in obtaining materials are affecting the contractors.

The latest stage of the controversial Spaces for People scheme is that Links Gardens has been re-opened to traffic (and to parking) - although this may be only temporary as the proposed Leith Low Traffic Neighbourhood may aim to re-close the street again in future. For the moment, the re-opening has relieved some of the pressure of traffic congestion on Hermitage & Vanburgh Place, and Duke Street.

On the issue of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ: this is due to be introduced on Leith Walk and Leith (up to the edge of the Links), sometime soon, but the proposed new zones have been deferred until autumn 2022 (e.g., Easter Road, and ‘West Leith’ (between Lochend Road and Restalrig Road). Most residents were against the proposals, but the Council remains convinced that they will be needed due to ‘migration’ of parking from the Leith Walk and Leith area once that CPZ is in place.

The Community Council is in contact with Lothian Buses to discuss reinstatement of better bus services to our area (north side of Leith Links and all the new homes being built), as the loss of the 12 and the 16 is still deeply felt.

The proposed Leith Low Traffic Neighbourhood has been slightly put ‘on hold’ while tramworks continue, as the Community Council had been pressing for, as it all seemed very rushed and not thought through in the context of all the other current traffic issues. But these proposals will be back!

Stinky Seafield stakeholders meeting 24/9/21

This twice-yearly meeting is held to update the community on work at the problematic and often stinky Seafield Plant, and allow us to air our complaints and seek improvements.

It is chaired by our MSP and attended by SEPA, Scottish Water, Veolia (the site operator), and Councillors and Council employees, along with Reps from our Community Council and the Leith LInks Residents’ Association.

We have had some success in enabling the Community Council to set up a better complaints system and get commitments from the Scottish Government to spend £10 million between now and 2024, (short-term improvement funding) and £100 million from 2029 for a ‘State of the Art’ Plant.

At this meeting we found that everyone but the community representatives believed that the lack of smells in the first few months of the year had continued, so we had to make it clear that there had been huge smell problems in the area throughout August and early September-all through the good weather in fact.

I read excerpts from people’s complaints to illustrate how far-reaching and how distressing smells were in their effect of people’s quality of life. Here are a few:

· Can’t wash my clothes and dry them without the smell clinging to them

· Had to close all the windows again on a very hot night

· Smells like hot sewage

· Its 15 degrees at 8am and I’ve had to shut all my windows already and stay in on what is going to be a beautiful hot day

· The smell getting into the house is the worst part

· Makes me boke

· It was absolutely stinking across the whole area when I left at 7.30am and still stinking when I got home at 4pm

· I’m recovering from illness, I need to take short walks, and I can’t

· It’s all exacerbated by hot weather

How it makes people feel?

· Sick, nauseous, headache, depressed

· Embarrassing to have family visiting leith

· Due to health issues, I’m still on lockdown, so my mental health is affected

· angry and upset that people can’t enjoy the open space of the links on a beautiful afternoon

Scottish water outlined the continuing plans for the short-term funding; they are currently in the design and procurement phase. The actual work will not be carried out until 2023-4. So we can’t expect much improvement before then.

We complained about the fact that it took our wee Community Council to set up a complaints system that people can use, in preference to the Council’s slow and clunky one.

These big organisations have the resources and should be doing this as a duty to local people. It was eventually agreed that Scottish Water should meet with us to look at improving it the systems for complaining. The real purpose of such a system is to put continuous pressure on Veolia and Scottish Water, and this has certainly worked in that much greater efforts are being made to control smells from this old and unfit-for-purpose site.

So it’s really important that everyone who experiences smells should use the complaints system. It’s easy to do so, just go to www.leithlinkscc.org.uk, and click on the bright yellow box at the top right of the page.

Planning

Live planning applications of interest in our area include:

1. 9-11 Maritime St EH6 6SB

"Proposed upwards extension and change of use from office to residential to form 22 flats, with associated infrastructure, landscaping, and cycle parking."

We have concerns that include loss of office/commercial space, heritage impact, knock-on effects on local amenity/services and parking/congestion etc.

Comments can be made on the council planning portal - currently it's 20 objections and 13 supporting - and you'd be welcome to funnel them through us too, at planning@leithlinkscc.org.uk.

All insights/views welcome.

Application reference: 21/04479/FUL

Deadline for comments: 08/10/21


2. JD Wetherspoons at Duke St/Constitution St

"For the creation of a new doorway between the No.15 Duke Street and The Foot of the Walk public house, No.183 Constitution Street, Leith."

Application reference: 21/04614/LBC

Deadline for comments: 15/10/21

********

We have expressed concern about what may be a growing trend - perhaps not unconnected to the council's thinking on controlled parking zones - for householders to replace their front gardens with driveways for their vehicles. We have written to the planning authority to seek clarity on this problematic development.

*******

We attended a site visit made by the Scottish Government Reporter to the Ropeworks development site off Salamander Place.

We had objected to the significant variation made by S1 Developments to their original application, which was for colony-type houses and not the multi-storey block with reduced open and green space that it has since become.

Application reference: 20/04907/FUL

The Reporter is due to make her decision by the end of October.

planning@leithlinkscc.org.uk


Community news

The Duncan Place Community & Enterprise Hub - Community Event Fund

Duncan Place Community & Enterprise Hub in Leith have launched a community event fund. They want to hear your ideas. They have 6 pots of £300 plus room hire available to make good things happen in Leith.

Click here to visit Duncan Place website

Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts CIC seeks packing volunteers

Do you have a few hours to spare each week to volunteer in Leith helping to provide fresh & nutritious meals to our community?

Packers are being recruited but there are many roles available, no kitchen or cooking experience required.

Click here to visit Volunteer Edinburgh website

Leith Festival

Take a trip down memory lane as we revisit some images and artwork from the Leith Festival archives & also share some original artwork created during lockdown by their wonderful volunteers.

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