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Newsletter | Autumn 2018

Welcome to our autumn newsletter

Our quarterly update on forthcoming events and planning developments in the Leith Harbour and Newhaven area. Please feel free to share this newsletter and sign up details: LHNCC newsletter

This edition: future of Victoria Primary School; Trams to Newhaven update; Leith's War; Bike security; community police surgeries; meeting dates, events and planning.

A new dawn for Victoria?

A well-attended open meeting was held on Thursday 4 October to discuss the future use of the Victoria Primary School building when the school is moved to a new location at the Western Harbour. The provisional date for the move is 2020, after which the building will be sold by the City Council.

Victoria Primary was established next to the historic harbour and seafront in 1844 and dates back to the days of the Society of Free Fishermen school, before the Newhaven Education Society bought the ground on which it is built. The campaign to keep the the building in community or education use has been launched amid fears it could be sold and redeveloped as housing once the new school is built.

Ideas are now being sought by Newhaven Heritage on the ways in which the historic building could be owned and run by the community in the future, retaining it as a community asset for the greater good of the Newhaven area. A number of workshops were held after the meeting and the outcomes of those are currently being compiled. 

It has been agreed that a Steering Group will be formed and that it should draw up a business plan and apply for charitable status.

How you can get involved

Newhaven Heritage is appealing for volunteers to contribute their time and talent to the campaign. See the Newhaven on Forth website to find out more.

The second public consultation on taking Edinburgh Trams to Leith and Newhaven was launched on 1 October 2018. Manned pubic information/drop-in events will be held on Saturday 13 October (12:00–17:00) at Ocean Terminal rotunda, and Monday 22 October (14:00–19:00) at McDonald Road Library. 

Following on from the first public consultation exercise in early 2018, the project team have been working to incorporate feedback into the design proposals. There were around 1400 Consultation Hub submissions, and over 1500 people attending events and a series of community workshops. As a result of the feedback, changes have been made to:

  • Active travel provision
  • Constitution St layout – Laurie Street to Coatfield Lane
  • Access to Balfour Street and side streets
  • Crossing points and permeability on Leith Walk
  • Right-turns to and from Leith Walk
  • Elm Row public realm

During this second and last stage of public consultation the team are keen to hear your views on the changes they have made. The survey will concentrate on the areas of the designs that have been updated and the new drawings are available from the CEC consultation hub (as you complete your responses). The consultation closes on 28 October 2018. You can comment via the hub or by email to the address below. 

See the project website or contact for details of the project timeline, tram route and stops, together with landscape and traffic management proposals.

'Leith's War' – a commemoration

At the outbreak of WWI in 1914 Leith was a busy commercial port with a population of some 80,000 people proud to call themselves ‘Leithers’. 

Aside from the initial rush to mobilise or volunteer for a war expected to be over by Christmas, the fighting overseas appeared somewhat remote to the great majority of Leith’s citizens. However, on the early morning of Saturday 22 May 1915, a train carrying 498 troops from Leith to Liverpool – ready to embark on the journey to Gallipoli – was involved in a collision with two other trains near Gretna Green. Two hundred and sixteen officers and men from the 7th (Leith) Battalion of the Royal Scots were killed – mostly by the fire which spread quickly through the gas-lit wooden carriages. It was a black day in the long history of Leith and, it was said, there was not a family in Leith untouched by the tragedy. It was, and remains, the worst crash for fatalities in the history of railways in Britain.
Coffins being carried in procession to Rosebank Cemetery, on the boundary of Leith and Edinburgh, where they would be buried in a mass grave
By the end of the War it is estimated that 14,200 Leith men had joined the Services. Around 2,700 of those men were killed with many more seriously wounded. By 11 November 1918 when the Armistice was declared, there was a mixture of sadness and relief in Leith and, while recognising that life could never go back to what it had been, there was also a sense of joy for the final victory.

A number of events will take place in Leith this November to mark the centenary of the Armistice. A restored coach of the type involved in the 1915 train crash, dedicated to the 7th Battalion in 2015, will be brought to Leith over the weekend 9–11 November. The coach will be on display and open to visitors in the area in front of Malmaison Hotel on The Shore from 10am to 4.30pm.

There will be an exhibition on 'Leith's War' by local historian Andrew Grant in Leith Public Library, including a lecture on Thursday 8 November at 2pm. Contact the Library for a place. Further lectures will take place in Malmaison Hotel at 3.30pm on Saturday 10 November and at 2pm on Sunday 11 November. Tickets for these will be available from 9 November at the Carriage display.

An open air Service of Commemoration of the Armistice for Leith, attended by The Lord Provost, will take place at 2pm on Saturday 10 November outside the Malmaison Hotel. This will be conducted by Revd Iain May, Minister of South Leith Parish Church, supported by the Church choir and the Lowland Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. All are welcome at this Service.
The coach has been meticulously restored by The Great Central Railway Rolling Stock Trust

Bike thefts update

Bike thefts are still a big problem in Leith. Police are planning further events to mark bicycles free of charge after a series of well-attended events around Leith in September. Dates and venues will be posted on our website when confirmed.

Meanwhile the community police team stresses the need for owners to record the key details of their bicycles, to help identify them and ensure a safe return if they are recovered after a theft. Information on keeping your bike secure and a template Pedal cycle identification form can be downloaded from the Police Scotland website.
You should report all losses and suspicious activity to the police. Call your local police on 101 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111
For more general community policing matters, PC Chris Smith and PC Chris Casselden (community beat officers for Leith Harbour and Newhaven) are available at their regular surgeries at Ocean Terminal every 3rd Saturday (12:00–14:00); a great opportunity for local residents to drop by and speak to the community police team. Next dates are:
  • Saturday 27 October
  • Saturday 17 November
  • Saturday 08 December
About Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council

LHNCC is made up of local people who care about our community and want to make it a better place to live. We are here to help and take forward your views, whether it is about a development or planning application near your home, a local community project or advice on a specific local issue.

Get in touch with for advice (email or even better, come to one of our monthly meetings if you live in the area (usually 7–9pm on the 4th Tuesday of every month). See for more details.

Meetings and notices

Join us for one of our regular meetings in the Shore room of Leith Community Centre, Kirkgate. Next meetings (18:30–20:30):

23 October 2018
27 November 2018
22 January 2019

Meeting papers >

Call for interest! LHNCC is looking for new members. You are eligible if you live in our area and are interested and have time to represent your community. Contact the LHNCC Secretary if you want to know more about the role.


Taking trams to Newhaven drop-in events
They asked, we said, they did ...? Find out about the updated plans for taking trams to Newhaven. Saturday 13 October, 12:00–17:00 at Ocean Terminal and Monday 22 October, 14:00–19:00 at McDonald Road Library.

Edinburgh Remakery
'Upcycle your furniture' is one of many workshops run by the Leith based social enterprise. Learn how to breathe life into an item of furniture that’s seen better days and create an alternative to our disposable society!
27 October, 10:00–16:30 at 127 Leith Walk. 


Hotel MV Fingal
Permanent mooring of the ship MV Fingal at Alexandra Dock, change of use to a boutique hotel and provision of associated infrastructure.
Search 17/03194/FUL on the CEC planning portal

106–162 Leith Walk
Proposed demolition of listed building, shops and local enterprises for a student residency.
Search 19/04332/FUL on the CEC planning portal

Baltic St/Salamander St
Large residential development proposed for land adjacent to Salamander Street.
Search 18/01154/PAN on the CEC planning portal

'Skyliner' on Ocean Drive
Residential development of 237 flats over 4 tower blocks with heights of 7, 13, 11 and 9 storeys, with a commercial unit, car parking and associated landscaping.
Search 18/00846/FUL on the CEC planning portal

Proposed distillery
Including visitor experience/tasting area, shop, restaurant and bar on land next to Ocean Terminal.
Search 17/04428/FUL on the CEC planning portal

Industry Lane
Residential development.
Search 18/01876/FUL on the CEC planning portal

See more LHNCC planning news >

Useful contacts

Find out more about Leith local interest groups:

Get in touch!

Let us know what you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, or if you have an idea or story you would like to see featured:

Our Winter newsletter will be published in December 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council

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Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council · c/o Leith Community Education Centre · 12A Newkirkgate · Edinburgh, Midlothian EH6 6AD · United Kingdom

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