Call for urgent action – local building at risk of collapse

Responding to local residents’ concerns about their safety, the Chair of Leith Links Community Council (LLCC) has called on City of Edinburgh Council urgently to use its extensive powers to protect the public by requiring the owner of a building at risk of collapse in John’s Lane to make it safe and repair it.

22 John’s Lane is a listed Georgian warehouse which has been neglected for many years. It has been on the Historic Environment Scotland ‘Buildings at Risk Register’ since 1991, though pictures there show it had a roof at that time which is now long gone. See  22, John’s Lane, Leith | Buildings at Risk Register

The outer wall facing John’s Lane is now leaning dangerously and at over 3 storeys high, with obviously eroded mortar, a high wind could cause a collapse. Any falling masonry could cause damage or injury to passers by in this narrow lane, off Queen Charlotte Street. In addition to providing rear access to a number of homes and businesses, John’s Lane is used by a local garage business and their customers.

Clearly the owner of the building is responsible, but the Council has strong powers to act to prevent any accidents from the obvious neglect of this structure. It can issue a Dangerous Building Notice which is used by Local Authorities to protect the public when it appears that the building owner has failed to prevent the building from falling into a dangerous condition. The notice is served to require a building owner to reduce or remove the danger posed by a building.

A Dangerous Building Notice requires the owner “to make safe or demolish a building that poses a threat to public safety. Repair Notices can be served on both listed and unlisted properties, and specify those works considered reasonable and necessary for the preservation of a building, along with a timescale within which these works should be completed. Failure to comply within the specified deadline may result in works being undertaken by the local planning authority, and a charge being made to the owner(s).

The Council can also issue an Urgent Works Notice on vacant listed properties, to allow the local planning authority to undertake emergency works such as the erection of supportive scaffolding or temporary roof structures.

Leith Links Community Council reports acute concern

LLCC Chair, Jim Scanlon, said ‘I feel this is a very urgent issue because of the risks to life that the condition of the building currently represents.’

You can read the full letter sent by the LLCC Chair to the Council here [link]


If you are concerned about a dangerous structure and don’t know who owns it, you can contact the City of Edinburgh Council Shared Repairs Service who have the responsibility for this type of issue.  Further information can be found here Unsafe buildings and emergency repairs – The City of Edinburgh Council
The email address is ‘