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Newsletter | Winter 2019/20

Welcome to our Winter newsletter

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

This edition: £eith Chooses; Water of Leith basin clean-up; Baltic/Constitution Street development; Leith Conference; Tram update; Meeting dates, Events and Planning.

£eith voted on 1 February!

This year’s launch in October 2019 was a great success with many familiar and some new faces participating. The central themes chosen for this year's funding were: Fighting hunger and loneliness. The £eith Chooses Steering Group received and processed a number of applications and some 20 were passed to be voted on by the Leith community on Saturday 1 February at the Kirkgate.
Over 900 people turned out to vote on how the £45K from the City of Edinburgh Council Community Grants Fund should be spent. As in the previous year, some applications qualified for the extra ‘Boost’ vote that was introduced to promote fairness, and well over 2,000 votes were cast on the day. The winners were announced on 18 February and awards were presented by Cllr Susan Rae and Douglas Tharby, Chair of LHNCC, to:

  • YMCA
  • Multicultural Family Base
  • North East Edinburgh Foodbank
  • Feniks Counselling
  • Citadel Youth Centre
  • Leith DIY Skatepark
  • ELREC (Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equalities Council)
  • Projekt 42
  • Pilmeny Development Project
  • Dr Bell’s Family Centre

 We extend our congratulations to all award winners!
Other details including individual application details can be found on the £eith Chooses website. There will be an 'open feedback’ night on Tuesday 10 March at 6.30 p.m. in the Leith Community Centre Café and all views and contributions will be listened to and taken on board to help shape future events.

Meanwhile a major thanks goes to the management at the Kirkgate, our local Community Police and the youth volunteers who made sure that a safe environment was maintained for such a large gathering. A special thank you must also extend to the 30 or so volunteers from Leith's three Community Councils, without whose resilience and dedication to their many tasks (in a hectic environment!) the event could not have taken place.

Water of Leith – basin clean up and agreement on next steps

In our last newsletter we reported on the 'Save Our Shore' campaign (#SOSLeith) run by a group of local residents who came together to voice concern at the state of the Water of Leith at the Shore. In particular this was to demand action to tackle the large build up of rubbish and silt that had formed an environmental and public health hazard in the lower basins, and to raise awareness of the ongoing neglect of the historic bridges. A public meeting held at the end of October last year gathered local residents, Ben Macpherson MSP, CEC leader Adam McVey, local councillor Gordon Munro and Forth Ports Estates Manager Alasdair Sibbald for a full and frank debate on the issues and to seek a formal commitment that the problem would be addressed. 

Since then, volunteers from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust have conducted an urgent clean-up of rubbish from four Water of Leith basins on 30 January 2020. Kitted out with protective clothing and specialist equipment, the six-person team removed plastics, pieces of foam, bottles, a shopping trolley and other non-natural debris from the water. SOSLeith members were present to observe the clean-up and provide encouragement (and tea and biscuits) to the volunteers. SOSLeith is grateful to the Trust for its efforts and will continue to engage with both it and other stakeholders – including Friends of the Water of Leith Basin (FOWLb) – to keep them abreast of any changes to the basins’ cleanliness.

Meanwhile, pressure from the Water of Leith interest groups and the local community has led to an agreement on the day-to-day management of the Water of Leith basins being approved by key partners. The City of Edinburgh Council, along with Water of Leith Basin partners the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Forth Ports Limited, Water of Leith 2000 Limited, Bluefield 1502 LLP and Friends of the Water of Leith Basin, have jointly committed to maintain the basins, addressing the build-up of debris and plastic waste.

Among the actions to be carried out are regular patrols of the basin area to check for litter and, where necessary, for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust to organise volunteer clean-ups along the length of the river, supported by the Council Natural Heritage Service and cleansing teams. Forth Ports Ltd, Water of Leith 2000 Ltd and Bluefield 1502 LLP will also maintain areas of the basin under their ownership while supporting actions by volunteers. 

#SOSLeith will work to ensure local community involvement in the monitoring of the new agreement. Its campaign continues and we will keep you updated!

Planning update: proposed development on Constitution Street/Baltic Street

This month sees the submission of the full planning application(s) for a proposed development to the north of Baltic Street (directly south of Tower Street), with part of the site fronting Constitution Street. The proposal is for a mix of uses, which will include student accommodation, affordable homes, co-working space, landscaping with green space and affordable shop units. It combines the re-use of redundant industrial buildings and new development on a brownfield site (the site of Dalton's scrapyard and the former gasworks).
Proposed view of North Assembly Street.
Proposed view of Constitution Street.
The development is complex and located within the Leith Conservation area, with some parts of the site having category B listed status. Sundial Properties has stated its commitment to adopting a heritage-led approach to the site, with the intention of enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation area. This it says will be achieved by a 'cluster format design' rather than studio apartments for student accommodation, which will enable the preservation of buildings. The student apartments are identified in the application as suitable for HMO status (providing some 558 postgraduate student bedrooms).The site would be predominantly pedestrian with cycle storage facilities. The affordable housing accommodation has a prominent position on Constitution Street. There is currently no dedicated student accommodation within LHNCC boundary.

A public consultation for the development was held on 28 November 2019 at Customs House and Sundial Properties gave a presentation at LHNCC's January meeting. Further details of the proposals can be found on a dedicated website. Details of the three linked planning applications can be viewed on the CEC Planning portal:
20/00465/FUL (Full Details of Planning Application)

You can comment on the applications via the CEC portal until Friday 6 March 2020.

Leith Conference – workshops and next steps

We reported the outcomes of the Leith Conference (October 2019) in our Autumn newsletter. The conference brought together local people, community organisations and businesses to explore, identify and prioritise key issues affecting life for better or worse in the Leith community. Leith Trust and Leith Creative have since been building on some of the important ideas and issues that were raised at the conference. Three focused workshops have been organised to explore how the Leith community can work collectively to deliver benefits for all.

The Leith Trust and Leith Creative partnership are encouraging all residents, community organisations and businesses to participate in the workshops and the next stage of developing a Local Place Plan for Leith. The first workshop (focusing on Governance and Structure) took place on 20 February. The next two workshops will focus on the specific issues listed in the box below. Please come along to discuss any of the topics that interest you – and encourage others who might be interested to do the same. The events are free but please do book. 

Tickets are available from Eventbrite at the links below. Refreshments will be served. The workshops are supported by the Scottish Community Development Centre.
19 March 6.30–8.30pm 
Workshop: Health and Wellbeing / Getting Together / Our Culture / Families, Children and Community Support Services.
Reserve a place >
23 April 6.30–8.30pm
Workshop: Environment / Employment / Access to Buildings / Housing and Planning / Trams, Transport and Connectivity.
Reserve a place >
Update on the 'Steel Shed' from the Port of Leith Distillery and the Leith Heritage group
The Steel Shed, which until recently was sited on the dockside to the north of Ocean Terminal, was built during the Second World War. It was originally located in an area that used to be Henry Robb Shipyard and it has a fascinating history. At that time, the yards were crucial to the war effort, constructing and repairing warships and support vessels. When the Admiralty commissioned a building for storing plans that would withstand direct hits from German bombs, the shipyard apprentices were enlisted to meet the brief. Given the opportunity to hone their metalwork skills, they created and built this unique shed in a similar way to the superstructure of a seagoing vessel.
Unfortunately the Shed lost its listed status some time ago, having been previously moved, and its position on the site now earmarked for the new whisky distillery meant that it has had to be dismantled. For the time being it is being stored by Ocean Terminal, under tarpaulins on ground to the west of the Royal Yacht Britannia, while work gets underway on the Distillery. There have been discussions with Forth Ports regarding a more protected storage site within the Dock area while plans for its future are considered. A site on Western Harbour has been suggested as a possibility as well as within the Dock area itself. The long term plan is that funds will be sought to enable restoration that will ensure its heritage as part of Leith Dock’s is maintained.
Work is now moving forward rapidly on the tramworks, leading to major roadworks and traffic diversions. Please keep up to date with the latest developments (and to sign up to the Tram team's newsletter) by visiting its dedicated website.

Update (February) on Infrastructure works

Constitution Street 
Work continues on Constitution Street, excavating the road to allow for utility diversions. Additional weekend working will be taking place between Baltic Street and Constitution Place to accelerate works. The hours will be Saturday from 8am to 4pm and Sunday 9am to 4pm.
Work is continuing on the South Leith Parish Church wall, working closely with archaeological experts. Over 60% of the wall has now been removed. The team will be working additional hours over the coming weekends to dismantle the scaffolding. The hours will be Saturday from 8am to 4pm and Sunday from 9am to 4pm.  
Investigation works (trial holes) at different locations on the footpaths along Constitution Street will continue over the coming weeks. These are being carried out to assist with the site investigations and to confirm locations of overhead line equipment. Pedestrian diversions will be in place to accommodate access.

Ocean Drive and Ocean Terminal 
Construction works will start on Ocean Drive on 13 March 2020. From this date fencing will be erected in order to establish the construction site which will take approximately two weeks. All parking and loading on Ocean Drive and Ocean Way will be suspended (Ocean Terminal will remain open as usual and access to the car parks will be maintained).

Newhaven to Melrose Drive
Construction works will start from Newhaven to Melrose Drive on 6 March 2020. From this date fencing will be erected in order to establish the construction site which will take approximately two weeks. All parking and loading on Lindsay Road, Melrose Drive and North Leith Sands will be suspended.

You can view the traffic management plans on the project website
Lothian Bus travel arrangements at Lindsay Road & Ocean Drive during Trams to Newhaven construction work (due to start March 2020)
Please see the LRT website for further details of changes to bus routes. 
Timetable for the phasing of tram works.

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. For more information contact Rob Levick of LHNCC.

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 2020

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

28 January 2020
25 February 2020
24 March 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.


Choices for City Plan 2030
Drop-in events for City Plan 2030 and the City Mobility Plan are a chance to give your views about the city we leave for future generations.You can also comment online at the CEC consultation hub (consultation closes 31 March)
26 February 4–7 pm, YMCA, 1 Junction Place, Leith
4 March 4–7pm, Blackhall Library, Blackhall

There will be an open feedback session on the £eith Chooses process. All welcome, and all contributions will be listened to and taken on board for future events.
10 March, 6:30 pm, Kirkgate Community Centre

Leith Community Development Workshops
The following workshops are the next stage of developing a Local Place Plan for Leith: get your voice heard!

Health and Wellbeing / Getting Together / Our Culture / Families, Children and Community Support Services.
19 March 6.30–8.30 pm 
Reserve a place >
Environment / Employment / Access to Buildings / Housing and Planning / Trams, Transport and Connectivity.
23 April 6.30–8.30 pm
Reserve a place >

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.

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 Spring newsletter will be published at the end of March 2020.

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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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