Leith Links Community Council voices support for street trading licence application relating to former Police box on Leith Links

A few weeks ago City of Edinburgh Council informed us that it was considering an application it had received from someone seeking a street traders licence in relation to the disused former Police box on Leith Links. Representations in relation to the application could be submitted by any interested party, including our Community Council.

We have not yet been advised whether the application has been granted, or not.

In response to the application we submitted the following representation;


Dear Sir,

Representation relating to Street Traders Licence application 48396.

On 7 December 2021 we were informed by you that a Street Traders License application (48396) relating to the Leith Links Police Box area was being considered, and that representation could be made by 4 January 2022.

Having considered the application notice & site map before us I can advise that Leith Links Community Council SUPPORT this application.

In doing so we offer the following comments;

 

  1. As is customary with civic licensing matters very little information has been made available to this Community Council, or the wider community. As such, it is difficult for the Community Council, or indeed other respondents, to be able to fully understand the situation or fully consider the benefits or implications for our community. We would take this opportunity to encourage City of Edinburgh Council to ensure that on every occasion it engages with our Community Council that it does so meaningfully, and ensures that both parties are privy to any information required in relation to the topic being considered.

 

  1. We understand that it is the intention of the applicant to trade hot & cold drinks and snacks. There are of course number of other businesses trading near the former Police Box, some of whom sell similar products however we do not believe that this application should result in an overprovision, based on the operating hours of nearby businesses which are very different from the proposed trading hours permitted by this application.

 

  1. The Police box has previously attracted vandalism, in the form of both graffiti and fly posting. Since the 1980s is has been well established that graffiti and vandalism, as well as being unsightly, can cause people to feel unsafe and can negatively influence how people conduct themselves in an area with such occurrences. As such we feel that bringing the Police Box into meaningful use will deter any further graffiti & fly posting, but will also provide the prompt removal of any which does occur.

 

  1. Three well used footways converge at the site of the Police Box, where there are also two signalised pedestrian crossings crossing well busy roads. These footways and crossings are used by a wide spectrum of community members, including many who benefit from having the publicly owned footway kept clear of obstructions. The Council should appropriately monitor the locus for any such obstructions, and have in place provision to deal with any such non permitted encroachments promptly and effectively. It should also be noted that due to the close proximity of two schools, there are often children using the pavement in front of the applicants site to make to their way to and from school.

 

  1. The business operations of the Police Box should not encroach onto the common good land of Leith Links, in example the grassed areas or the footpaths within. This should include not using the greenspace for the storage or any other positioning of refuse, stock, tables and chairs etc.

 

  1. It is likely that a large number of Police Box patrons will carry their purchased goods into the Leith Links greenspace for consumption. We are concerned that this could generate additional waste, which may be in significant amounts, especially during periods of sunny and or hot weather. As such we would ask that consideration is given as to whether there is enough litter bin capacity within Leith Links, or whether there are additional litter bins needed, and also whether current litter bins require to be moved position within the greenspace. We would request that appropriate monitoring takes place over coming months, particularly during hot and or sunny weather periods.

 

  1. As the Police Box is located directly adjacent to a busy road, near a junction, the operator should take appropriate steps to ensure that no vehicle servicing the Police Box, such as the operator, their staff or suppliers utilise the pavement or roadway in such a way so as to cause a nuisance or safety risk whilst parking or loading/unloading, including ensuring that no such vehicle mounts of the footpath or greenspace. Consideration should be given by the Council as to whether the current yellow lines are appropriate or whether it requires to take further measures to make them enforceable, and of course regular monitoring of this location should take place.

 

  1. Leith Links can generally be described as a busy and well used greenspace, for a variety of purposes. Visitor numbers can grow considerably during periods of significant sunshine & heat, and during organised events such as Leith Festival Gala Day. It is our view that it is important that appropriate visitor amenities are provided within the Leith Links greenspace area such as adequate litter bin provision, toilet facilities and seating. The provision of drinks & snacks being available from the Police Box we will add to the visitor experience in a positive manner.

 

  1. We are aware that in November and December 2021 the applicant has undertaken business activity at the locus, similar to that for which the license is sought, without any complaints or concerns being raised with us.

 

  1. Council waste bins provided in Leith Links, and in the streets adjacent to the Police Box are provided for non-commercial usage, as such the applicant will require to have in place their own trade waste removal arrangements. We would seek to request that all trade waste is kept off the greenspace or public footway at all times. And that should trade waste be left on a pavement for collection that the business has in place proper arrangements to keep control of such waste to ensure that it is not unsightly or becomes scattered across the footpath or greenspace. Where such refuse becomes scattered, either by seagulls or misdemeanour of passing persons, that the applicants assumes full responsibility and clears any such debris promptly and without any costs being incurred by the local authority.

 

  1. We would suggest and encourage the applicant to minimise the use of disposable and single use packaging where at all possible.

 

  1. The locus is adjacent to busy roads, no doubt there are fumes being produced by many of the vehicles using those roads which may render seating at those locations as being unpleasant, however the level of exposure would not be greater than a person standing at the nearest bus stops, as such we have no serious concerns relating to this matter, and view this as a matter of choice for the patrons themselves to consider whether they may use of such a facility or not.

 

  1. We would encourage the City of Edinburgh Council to include this applicant, as well as other businesses operating within or very nearby to Leith Links to be considered stakeholders and to be consulted/notified of planned events on Leith Links as well as be involved in any discussions about the future of Leith Links.

 

We hope that you, and any other appropriate City of Edinburgh Council colleagues will read, consider and record our comments, and where appropriate undertake any necessary follow up activity.

It would be of interest to us to be notified of the outcome of your deliberations, such as whether the license is granted, and any applicable terms & conditions which would apply.

Should you wish to discuss this response with our Community Council please do not hesitate to contact Community Councillor Sally Millar, Secretary, by emailing contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk.


 

 

 

 

 

University of Edinburgh seek volunteers to observe users of Leith Links

The University of Edinburgh is seeking volunteers to observe users of Leith Links, and to record such observations so that the information collated on park users can be used by them (and others such as City of Edinburgh Council) to improve the park and strengthen any funding bids.

Volunteers are asked to record information such as how many people are using a certain area of the Links, what activities are happening and other characteristics such as age & gender).

If you would like more information please click here.

If you would like to volunteer please click here.

if you would like to ask any questions or submit any comments please contact l.deniz@sms.ed.ac.uk.

 

 

 

This Behaviour Observation Studies area of work is being undertaken as part Thriving Greenspacesof the Thriving Greenspaces Project, which is a partnership of six bodies including City of Edinburgh Council, University of Edinburgh, Greenspace Scotland, Edinburgh Greenspaces Forum, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspaces Trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leith Community Councils call for conservation of the Manderston Street arches

The three community councils representing Leith (whose respective boundaries converge near the area in question) have jointly submitted this response to Edinburgh Council’s consultation on extending the Leith Conservation Area to include the former railway line that used to run across Leith Walk:

We, Leith Community Councils, would like to express our full support in response to the initiative by the Council to seek views from the Community about the proposal to extend the Leith Conservation Area to include the arches on Manderston Street / Jane street along with the former Capitol Theatre.

The significance, for Leith, of permanent elements such as these arches cannot be underestimated. Not only do they contribute to Leith’s collective memory, they also help Edinburgh reconcile itself to its industrial past by revealing layers of railway, manufacturing and service traditions.

Protecting such a landmark is about finding a balance between singular monuments like the arches and embracing sensitive new developments in Leith. It is about propelling Leith in a future where the Community keeps a sense of belonging, both symbolically and physically.

By having served the Community for over a hundred years and continuing to do so, the arches represent architecture at its highest degree, where constant alterations of functions emphasise the value of the form, may it be as the present Bingo Hall at 24 Manderston Street which once was Edinburgh’s largest cinema or the arches where airplanes used to be made.

We, Leith Community Councils, aspire to protect Leith’s unique character and appearance for future generations and for the city itself so we strongly support the inclusion of the arches and former cinema to the Leith Conservation Area as these are not only Leith’s architectural heritage, they are Edinburgh’s true foundations.

Leith Central Community Council

Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council

Leith Links Community Council

The consultation closes on December 19th. There is still time for individuals to comment.

Duncan Place £300 Community Enterprise Fund

Leith Links Community Council is happy to share this great news from our friends at Duncan Place:

Duncan Place is excited to announce that we have 6 pots of £300 available to make good things happen in Leith! 

Community Ownership is awesome! Profits made at Duncan Place Community & Enterprise Hub in Leith stay in Leith! It’s not about landlords getting richer. It’s about bringing people together.

If you have an idea for a community event tell us about it and maybe we can help make it happen.We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Pots of £300 will be awarded as follows:

  • for an event for those aged 12yrs and under.
  • for an event for those aged 13-18yrs.
  • for an event for senior members of our community.
  • for a multi-generational event.
  • others.

Criteria

  1. Your community event must take place in Duncan Place and be open to the Leith community.
  2. If your event will cost more than £300 you must be able to evidence that the remaining budget is in place.
  3. All health and safety and covid guidance in place at the time of the event must be followed.
  4. Any required insurance must be in place by the time of the event.
  5. Any re-usable equipment purchased for the events will remain the property of Duncan Place for use at future community events.

Download and Complete the application form and return it by Mon 1st November 2021.

More information is available here, on the Duncan Place website.

Parking Controls on the Way – whether we like it or not…?

Although 75 per cent of residents say they have no problems with parking, the  City Council looks set to press on with plans for pay to park controls across the City, including in this area. Sorry for the short notice, but you need to read this as there is an important vote tomorrow!

Earlier this year local residents were consulted about plans to introduce controlled parking along the length of Easter Road and an area being called ‘West Leith’ which is bounded by Hermitage and East Hermitage Place, Restalrig Rd, Lochend Avenue and Lochend Rd, including the bottom end of Easter Rd and Academy Park. The consultation results are in, and are  considered by the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee on 19 August this week, alongside similar proposals for other areas of the City.

More than 16,000 leaflets were delivered to homes in 8 areas across the city where parking controls are proposed. Thousands of responses, emails and online comments were received. 75% of people said they did not experience parking problems (77% in ‘West Leith’). The problem people most often wanted action on was inconsiderate or dangerously parked cars, and there were reports of abandoned vehicles – which take up space. The 350 page report going to the Transport and Environment Committee says ‘It is clear from the consultation responses that there is a majority of respondents who do not believe that the introduction of parking controls is warranted at this time’.  

Nevertheless, tomorrow Thursday 19 August the City of Edinburgh Council Transport and Environment Committee could agree  to introduce parking controls in 8 areas of the City including ‘West Leith’. If agreed, a statutory ‘Traffic Regulation Order’ process would start, which could possibly lead to parking controls introduced from Autumn 2022. Residents would need to purchase permits for their vehicles – the Council paper estimates 799 people would need permits in ‘West Leith’, and non-residents would need to pay to park – a fee of £2.50 per hour Monday to Friday 8.30am  to 5.30pm is being proposed – with cashless ticket machines introduced.

Other matters in the report include a further delay to proposals around parking controls linked to events at stadiums, including Easter Road, and a proposal to monitor the effect of the controlled parking on adjacent areas like the so-called ‘East Leith’ area at the east (Seafield) end of Leith Links.  It is difficult to see why any visitor coming by car to Leith Links for, eg dog walking, football or just a picnic would prefer to park for £2.50 per hour at the west end of the Links instead of for free at the east end, so migration of parking is inevitable.

If you have views on this issue you need to contact your local Councillors and have your say QUICKLY!!! Tonight’s the night!

Your local Councillors are:

Cllr Adam McVey adam.mcvey@edinburgh.gov.uk
Cllr Gordon Munro gordon.munro@edinburgh.gov.uk
Cllr Chas Booth chas.booth@edinburgh.gov.uk – Chas Booth is a member of the Transport and Environment Committee, so it makes most sense to make sure he knows what your views are before tomorrow’s meeting.

Here is a link to the full Council paper for this week’s Committee meeting.

Edinburgh Climate Festival,Leith Links(East) Saturday 14th August 12pm-7pm

Edinburgh Climate Festival will be coming to Leith Links on Saturday, 14th August

The event will be held on Leith Links East, 12-7pm, they have an exciting day planned. Highlights include an art installation by artist duo Bibo & Brian Keeley, upcycling workshops, sewing repairs, seed swaps, planting workshop, ebike and cargo bike trials, free bike repairs, a free shop, a live DJ and more!

There will also be some scheduled activities throughout the day:

* 12:00 Circle Dancing

* 13:00 Hatha Flow Yoga

* 14:00 Storytelling

* 14:30 Tai Chi

* 15:00 Yoga

* 16:00 Storytelling

* 17:00 Circle Dancing

* + Upcycle Bicycle Inner Tube Workshop (drop in anytime 12-15:00, 16-19:00)

Location

The Festival will be held at Leith Links East, Links Gardens EH6 7EB (grey pin on the map).

Unfortunately, they are not able to offer food, drinks or toilet facilities on site, but these can be found within walking distance from the venue. Staffed public toilets are available on the links by the tennis court here.

COVID-19 measures

Restrictions and precautions will be based on Edinburgh’s COVID-19 level (currently level 0) and the Scottish Government events sector guidance 

The organisers ask that you:

* Not to attend the event if you have COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.

* Organisers encourage you to wear a mask.

* Respect social-distancing.

 

The open day is a public event and photographs and films will be taken for use for marketing uses.

 

 

Links Gardens to re-open on 9th August

The Community Council has just received official notification from the Council (Spaces for People team) that Links Gardens is due to be re-opened to traffic on Monday 9th August.

Below is a copy of the email received. It seems obvious that the re-opening is not permanent but conditional on matters relating to the tramworks and to the proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood. So monitoring of traffic flow, safety issues, collection of evidence, and feedback of local views will continue to be very important.

In the meanwhile it is not entirely clear from the Council’s email exactly what conditions are to be placed on the reopening. A key sentence seems to be: “Measures are going to be considered by the Tram team to mitigate the impact of traffic using local diversion routes near the school.”    We will try to find out asap what this means in practice,and will keep you informed.

So all local residents will want to keep an eye on how the re-opening goes, and please keep taking photos, when relevant, and feeding back on what effect (positive and /or negative) you feel the re-opening has on pedestrians, cyclists, school children, buses, cars, deliveries, traffic congestion on nearby roads, etc.  Comments are open below – do tell us how you think it’s going.

Opinions are mixed on this issue, overall, but the one thing none of us want, probably, is the return of the densely parked (dumped?) camper vans, trailers and caravans etc., along Links Gardens. We will be asking (again) whether signs can be obtained, to discourage this.

COPY

From: spacesforpeople <spacesforpeople@edinburgh.gov.uk>
Sent: Monday, August 2, 2021 4:43:21 PM

Dear Councillors and Stakeholders,

I refer to the ongoing closure of Links Gardens which was implemented as part of the Spaces for People programme of works in response to the Covid pandemic. The Links Gardens scheme is an initial Spaces for People project, originally implemented during the early stages of lockdown when restrictions limited the duration/method of exercise people could undertake. The original objectives of the project were to provide increased safe space for socially distanced exercise and to link together both sections of Leith Links.  

It was agreed at the Transport and Environment Committee on 17 June that the closure of Links Gardens will be removed during tram construction in the area, but the reinstatement of the closure will be considered again in the future, subject to consultation with local people as part of proposals for a Leith Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

Accordingly I am writing to notify you of Links Gardens being reopened on Monday the 9 August in advance of the Tram works commencing at the Foot of the Walk. Measures are going to be considered by the Tram team to mitigate the impact of traffic using local diversion routes near the school.

I trust that this updates you on the current position however if you require any further information or clarification please do not hesitate to contact Barry Clarke, Senior Project Manager at barry.clarke@edinburgh.gov.uk

Regards

Andy Edwards

Dr Andy Edwards | South West Locality | Place | The City of Edinburgh Council | 10 Westside Plaza, Edinburgh EH14 2ST | email: andy.edwards@edinburgh.gov.uk |

 

 

 

 

Community Picnic on the Links – all welcome – Saturday 17th July, 1-3pm

           

You are invited to a Community Picnic on Leith Links, Saturday 17th July 2021
1 – 3pm, on the old bowling greens area  – entry from Links Place gate 
….. weather permitting …..

Please do come along and join in a community get together.

Please bring your own food and drink (no barbecues, sorry).

Bring your own rug, cushions, folding seats, whatever.            

Bring musical instruments if you fancy doing a ‘turn’.

For covid safety reasons, this has to be a ‘low key’ event, but there will be a wee bit of a community vibe; fun activities for children, an opportunity to catch up with folk you may not have seen for a while, and a chance to discuss and ‘cast a vote’ for your favourite ideas for the future of the former bowling greens area.
                 Numbers on the bowling greens will be limited, and free snacks and juice may run out, so come early if you want to get a spot!

For more info: contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk

Leith Links public toilets due to open on 23 June 2021

The City of Edinburgh Council intends to open the temporary public toilets on Leith Links from Wednesday 23 June 2021. Although it should be noted that this is subject to the Council having staffing in place, adequate supplies and that all connections are in place.

 

The toilets are located next to the disused bowling greens & derelict building will be open from 10am until 6pm each day until September 2021. The toilets will be staffed whilst they are open to ensure cleanliness and also that Covid-19 related social distancing is observed.

 

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