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Newsletter | Autumn 2019

Welcome to our Autumn update

Elections for Edinburgh’s Community Councils took place in September/October and we are happy to report that, although there were no new nominees standing for election, the existing team of community councillors will continue their work! It's back to business as usual and we hope to see some of you at our monthly meetings. Please feel free to share this newsletter and sign up details: LHNCC newsletter

This edition: SOS – Save Our Shore; Leith Conference; Tram update; Meeting dates, Events and Planning.

Public Meeting 30 October 2019

Leith (#SOSLeith) is a small informal group of local residents who came together in June 2019 to voice concern at the state of the Water of Leith at the Shore. The huge build up of rubbish and silt and the neglect of the historic monuments, principally the two Category A listed bridges, is an environmental and public health issue.

The SOS campaign aims to be both positive and direct, and to encourage transparency and local involvement. Beginning with a petition of 3200+ signatures, and including an innovative Fringe Festival exhibition by Dr Jim Jarvie at the Custom House, the group has built cordial links with local politicians and has received significant media attention such as the recent STV interview.

Over 65 people attended the SOS public meeting on 30 October, plus Ben Macpherson MSP, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey, local councillor Gordon Munro and Forth Ports Estates Manager Alasdair Sibbald. Absent, to the dismay and frustration of the room, were WOL2000 Ltd (the owners of the basin stretching from Bernard Street to the Victoria Bridge), and SEPA.

At the meeting it became clear that while negotiations around a new agreement to clean and maintain the basins rubbish-free are said to be at an advanced stage, that agreement will not be legally binding. There was considerable support for initiating legal enforcement measures as a fall back, given WOL2000's poor compliance record of honouring previous 'gentlemen's agreements'. #SOSLeith wants to ensure local community involvement in the monitoring of the new agreement.

No date was given for any clean-up of the existing rubbish. No new agreement can be signed before the relevant council meeting in December. #SOSLeith sees nothing to prevent an immediate clean-up, not least as a sign of good faith and commitment from all parties involved.

The campaign continues and we will keep you updated.
A Leith Conference, which took place over the weekend of 26/27 October, brought local people, community organisations and businesses together to explore, identify and prioritise key issues affecting life for better or worse in the Leith community. As a partnership of Leith Trust and Leith Creative, the conference aimed to build on a wide body of research about the area, gathered over the last five years, to move forward and agree joint actions for a Local Place Plan – shaped by the people of Leith. The issues put forward for discussion at the conference had been identified after recent and ongoing consultation with residents and community groups. 
On Saturday, attendees worked in themed groups to identify what they, the people who live, work or care about Leith, could make happen by working together and working differently. For example, a very interesting and encouraging talk by Jane Jones described how a group of residents (the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative) came together in response to concerns about planning applications and how they were able, as a community group, to challenge and negotiate what they wanted for their neighbourhood. 
A breakout session involved individuals selecting from list of ‘hot topics’ (see below) and working together in small groups to identify issues and aspirations. Results were collated and added to Wall posters followed by feedback, discussion and ‘If we did only one thing’ sticker voting. This was very successful and drew interesting responses from a wide range of participants.
Hot topics tackled at the Leith Conference:
• Safe and Clean Green and Blue Spaces
• Employment and Our Local Economy
• Keeping Well, Health and Wellbeing
• Getting Together, Connecting Our Community
• Access to Buildings and Spaces
• Development, Housing and Planning
• Trams, Transport and Connectivity
• Our Culture and Heritage
• Families, Children and Community Support
Other sessions related to ‘Time for Action: Now, Soon and in the Future’ and ‘What feels like it needs our protection: Preserve and Develop’. During a Q&A, Charles Hammond (Forth Ports) spoke of a commitment from Forth Ports to support the local community, identifying the New Park (one third to be part of current approved planning application for development at Western Harbour; the rest to be completed in a Phase Two of the development plan – planning application for which has still to be submitted). He also suggested there may be opportunity to site the Steel Shed (reported in an earlier edition of this newsletter) on the Western Harbour site. The restoration of Victoria and Rennie’s Isle bridges was also discussed.
Sunday included interesting and well-received presentations from keynote speakers Lesley Riddoch (Freelance journalist and author) and Linda Summerville (Local activist, NUS Scotland). There was opportunity for more group work, and discussion of possible ways forward – addressing questions including: What is realistic? What is the difference we want to make? Who will govern this work? The conference ended with open session – ‘Getting Our Voices Heard’.
Overall a well-attended conference involving a wide range of participants. Members of the Citadel Youth Centre did a great job managing groups and collating feedback – well done!
Infrastructure works

Infrastructure works will begin in two sections of Constitution Street from Monday (18 November). Two sections will be affected by traffic management:

• Foot of the Walk to Coatfield Lane – scheduled to be completed by Spring 2021
• Queen Charlotte Street to Constitution Place – scheduled to be complete by Autumn 2020.
Works will involve excavation of the road to allow utility diversions, track-laying, installation of tram infrastructure, public realm improvements, and heritage and archaeology works. This includes removing and restoring the Robert Burns statue, situated on Baltic Street, before returning it once construction is complete.

Further work will take place between:
• Coatfield Lane and Queen Charlotte Street – starting Spring 2021, scheduled to complete Spring 2022.
• Constitution Place and Tower Place – starting Autumn 2021, scheduled to complete Summer 2022.
South Leith Parish Church
The church wall will be taken down ahead of the main tram construction works and re-built. The A-listed Victorian era wall and its foundation are currently insufficient to withstand the tram construction. The materials will be retained and re-used to reconstruct the wall back in its original position, prior to completion of that section of the works. The memorials on the inner face of the wall will also be removed and protected so that they can be reinstated when the wall is re-built.
In addition, archaeological work will be required to exhume approximately 200 gravesites dating from between the 14th and 17th centuries. This work will not require any significant excavations beyond the wall into the graveyard itself and is being designed to avoid disturbing known burials within the present graveyard.
In order to begin works on the wall later in December 2019, tree work will be carried out to trim back overhanging branches. The works will take place over two days (Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 November) and will not damage the trees. Wherever possible all work will be carried out from the ground. An eco-check for bats and nesting birds was undertaken recently, and this identified that the trees were not currently being used by either.
Leith Walk enabling works
Enabling works are also scheduled to get under way on Leith Walk to prepare the access lane for traffic ahead of the main construction work, which begins in spring 2020. Traffic will continue to flow both ways and bus services will be unaffected, other than some bus stops being moved a short distance in agreement with Lothian Buses. 
In order to facilitate construction of the tram project, the 14 planters that are currently situated on Leith Walk are being moved to the Leith Links / Duke Street / Lochend Road / Easter Road junction. This will be a permanent move in order to accommodate dedicated cycling lanes after construction is completed. The planters will be moved ahead of the enabling works commencing on Monday 18 November.
Constitution Street bike racks and bins

As a result of the preparations for the tram works on Constitution Street, the bike racks which are situated at the side of the Post Office on Constitution Street will be removed. The communal bins that are currently situated on Constitution Street will be moved to the nearest side street. The regularity of uplifts will be monitored to ensure the area is kept clean and tidy. If you require a bulk uplift, please contact the Council’s waste service in the usual manner.
Parking restrictions near the worksite: Tower Street and the Shore
On-street parking on the north of side of Tower Street will be restricted in order to maintain access to residents and businesses to Tower Street via the Shore. Parking will still be maintained on the south side of Tower Street in the interim. On-street parking on the west side of the Shore from Bernard Street to Tower Street will be restricted.
The Tram Team will notify local residents of clearly defined areas for parking as the project develops.
Timetable for the phasing of tram works.
Bus diversions: LRT services 12 and 16
During the works, it is likely that your usual bus stop will be relocated. For Constitution Street that means Lothian Buses services 12 and 16 will not be able to use the street from 5:30am on Saturday 16 November. Instead, they will follow diversion routes as follows:
• Service 12 (towards Seafield) – between Leith Walk and Links Place, buses will be diverted via Duke Street, Academy Street, Wellington Place and John’s Place
• Service 12 (towards city centre) – between Gladstone Place and Leith Walk, buses will be diverted via East Hermitage Place, Vanburgh Place and Duke Street
• Services 16 and N16 – between Leith Walk and Commercial Street, buses will be diverted via Great Junction Street, Henderson Street and The Shore in both directions.
Bus stop and route changes.
Public information events
A series of public drop-in events that started on 7 November at South Leith Parish Church are being planned to keep residents and local businesses informed as construction progresses. A new twitter account has also been launched to communicate information about the project, respond to queries and link to information on the project website (see below). It will also be used to promote the support for business initiatives that will be up and running during construction.

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

You can follow the latest Tweets from Trams to Newhaven (@TramstoNewhaven). The official account of the Trams to Newhaven project.

Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT)

LHNCC is working with the other Leith community councils (Leith Links and Leith Central) as 'Community Councils Together on Trams' to promote and safeguard community interests throughout this project and ensure that, as the work proceeds, our respective communities’ interests and views are effectively communicated to the Tram Team/CEC.

Throughout the last 18 months, CCTT has engaged constructively with the Tram Team on the basis of its initial position statement. CCTT feel that a number of concerns have been taken up and translated into actions and budgets. CCTT is currently reviewing its role vis-a-vis the tram project and intends to issue a statement to this effect as soon as possible. A meeting was held to identify the strategic focus for CCTT during the tram construction period (late 2019 to summer 2022) and assess its available resources. The results of meeting will be made available once an agreement is in place with the Tram Team.

£eith chooses – reminder!

Remember that applications for funding must be in by Monday 6th January 2020 (but ideally before Christmas…). The £eith Chooses Voting Event is Saturday 1st February 2020.

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 19:00–21:00 on the 4th Tuesday of every month). See for more details.

Meetings and notices 2019/20

Join us for one of our regular meetings in the Shore room of Leith Community Centre, Kirkgate. Next meetings (19:00–21:00):

26 November 2019
28 January 2020
25 February 2020

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.


Tram Team updates
A series of public drop-in events that started on 7 November at South Leith Parish Church are being planned to keep residents and local businesses informed as construction progresses. A new twitter account has also been launched to communicate information about the project, respond to queries and link to information on the project website.

Follow the Twitter feed @TramstoNewhaven for more information.

Reminder that applications for funding must be in by Monday 6th January 2020 (but ideally before Christmas…).

Voting is on Saturday 1 February 2020 at Leith Community Education Centre. 

Leith Community Centre
Is now open on Saturdays and Sundays! Eight rooms and halls are available for bookings for a variety of community uses from 9am–5pm every Saturday and Sunday. To enquire call 0131 554 4750 or email the centre.
9am–5pm Saturdays and Sundays. Leith Community Education Centre, Kirkgate.

See more LHNCC events news >


The planning section of our website provides user-friendly information on the many local development proposals at planning or pre-planning stage. Visit for more details and links to the CEC planning portal.

Aldi Supermarket
Demolition works and erection of a supermarket on Dock St (Commercial St).

Baltic Street
Large residential development proposed for land adjacent to Salamander Street.

Bath Road/Salamander St
Commercial and residential development.

Leith Walk/Steads Place
Proposed demolition of listed buildings, shops and local enterprises to make way for a student residency/hotel.

Linksview House
Demolition of existing flats to make way for new residential development.

Ocean Drive
Residential development by Port of Leith Housing Association.

Port of Leith distillery
Including visitor experience/tasting area, shop, restaurant and bar on land next to Ocean Terminal.

'Skyliner' on Ocean Drive
Residential development of 245 flats over 4 tower blocks.

Tower Street
Mixed use development.

Victoria Primary School
New primary school, nursery and playground at Western Harbour.

Western Harbour
Residential development.

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 at the end of December 2019.

Copyright © 2019 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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