Report on a consultation with the local community on possible future development at the former bowling greens area (and building) on Leith Links Spring / Summer 2021
Between May and September 2021 Leith Links Community Council led a consultation exercise with the local community about possible future development of the currently derelict ‘Former Bowling Greens area’ on Leith Links. We are now publishing in full the results and views that emerged, and this report has also been forwarded to City of Edinburgh Council. This consultation took place in three parts:
- The Community Council held a series of 3 public meeting, online, that were well attended, by around 30-40 people at each of three meetings. Discussions were Chaired and semi-structured but open to all, and free flowing.
- The Community Council organised and hosted, with the help of volunteers from other local community groups, a Community Picnic, 17th July 2021. This was an in-person ‘live’ community event on site, attended by approximately 100 folk.
- An Online Survey was hosted on the Leith Links Community Council website and disseminated also via social media (Facebook, Twitter). The survey was open for 2 weeks and attracted 199 responses.
The Report in full is very long, but well worth reading. You can download and read the whole report here. We present a summary of the report below:
The community in Leith Links has been consulted, and has engaged in large numbers (250) and with, in many cases, lengthy responses. The views of the community are that:
- The bowling greens area pavilion should not be demolished but should be refurbished at the Council’s expense and repurposed to include permanent public toilet facilities and a mix of other facilities (details to be determined) that will be at least partially open for use by the community, not ‘private’. Security lights, cameras and alarm system should be installed.
- The outdoor area surrounding the building, currently delineated by the hedging, should be refurbished and repurposed so that it is attractive and thus will be well-used by a mix of people (all ages, no one particular age range), which should reduce the incidence of anti-social behaviour. A slight majority favour repurposing as an area primarily for outdoor activity / sport / fitness use (e.g. skatepark), although significant numbers also favoured ‘mixed use’ and a ‘quiet relaxing garden area’ – and many other possible uses, see Section 4 in the full Report.
- This refurbishment is long overdue and should be at least started as soon as possible, rather than further delayed until the proposed Leith Links Master Plan can be completed. (It could be done in stages, as partners emerge, funding can be sourced etc.) In the immediate / short term, a cleanup, and installation of benches and litter bins is required.
- The community must be properly consulted at all stages and properly represented as an equal partner throughout the process eg. via representation on Project Steering Group / Governance body, Master Planning team etc.. The community is also open to providing support in the form of volunteer input on agreed projects, if / as capacity permits.
The Community Council itself at this point does not have any particular stance or plan that it wishes to ‘back’ or promote, but rather sees itself primarily as a means by which information can be shared and community views collected, recorded and communicated to the Council. We trust there will be further two-way and ongoing communication with the Council.
Having said that, we should nonetheless make clear that the Community Council does have some views. We favour refurbishment of the building and the outdoor area, and we award very high priority to the installation of permanent public toilets. We do not oppose ideas for sports / activities, but would strongly argue to keep at least some of the area retained as green space, rather than being completely concreted over. Given the very wide ranging (and in some cases directly opposing) views from the community, it is clear that ‘you can’t please everybody’ and on that basis we might favour a solution that involves a degree of compromise or mixed use, that might involve splitting the area into sub-areas, partnerships between different groups etc.
or just read on here….
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