What’s happening in Leith Links?

Monday 26th February – next Leith Links Community Council meeting, 6:30pm. This will be an ONLINE ONLY meeting (TEAMS). Agenda available here.

Email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk if you wish to attend, and you will be sent a link.


£EITH CHOOSES Results night 22th February 

The results of which local charities / community groups have been successsful in winning funding will be announced ‘live’ at 6:30 pm at Leith Community Centre (cafe area). All welcome, do come along to hear the news, and for refreshments and a chat. Short meeting.


February  – Leith Links Community Council survey about traffic and parking changes. Have you filled in this survey yet? Please do so, to have your voice heard, regarding how your life as a local resident, is affected – positively and/or negatively – by all the recent changes to traffic and parking in our area. Timing is key, as some of the changes which were temporary (such as the ‘bus gate’ on Links Gardens / Links Place) are about to be made permanent unless people report that they are not working well.

Give your views via the Community Council survey here

You can also make your views known direct to the council via this link:



Events on the Links 2024 

We have just been informed that the City of Edinburgh Council has REFUSED permission for the proposed event FLY Summer Of Love’92 to take place on the Links, in May 2024. This is good news, as the community council and many local residents had objected to the application, feeling that this particular large scale, long and very loud event and Leith Links, so close to residents, were not a good fit for each other.

Music Encounters March 2024

Provided by the Council, there will be some live music on the Links for all local residents and ‘ordinary’ park users to enjoy, free of charge, on Saturday 16th March, from 1300h to 1500h. More details to follow later.


Events on the Links in 2024? YOUR views, please!

The Community Council has been informed of some applications to hold events on the Links this spring / summer, and we are seeking local residents’ views on these.

We have to respond to these proposals asap, as far as possible representing the views of the local community.  At the moment, we are minded to object to one and approve of three others, as follows, but this is not ‘cast in stone’ and we could perhaps change our responses if local people feel strongly.

City of Edinburgh Council ‘Music Encounters’ – Saturday 16 March 2024 – LLCC  currently minded to approve

FLY – Summer of Love ‘92 – 2 day weekend, May 2024 – LLCC currently minded to object

Leith Festival Gala Day – Saturday 8th June 2024 – LLCC currently minded to approve

World Orienteering Championships (WOC) 2024 – Friday 12 July 2024 – LLCC currently minded to approve

Please can you use the comments below, or email us on contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk to make YOUR views known on each of these.

What’s happening this January / February?

Monday 29th January – Leith Links Community Council meeting, 6:30 in person at Duncan Place. Email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk if you wish to attend.


£EITH CHOOSES until 5th February 

Even if you missed the in-person voting day event, if you haven’t done so already you can still vote once online, until 5th February, at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/cf/leith-chooses-2024/


January / February  – Leith Links Community Council survey about traffic and parking changes. Have you filled in this survey yet? Be sure to do so, to have your voice heard, regarding how your life as a local resident, is affected – positively and/or negatively – by the new changes to traffic and parking in our area.

The recent closure of Lindsay Road due to possible building subsidence – and subsequent traffic mega congestion –  shows how important it is to have alternatives to the main routes through Leith, or else everything comes to a halt. We have roads permanently blocked off because of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood, and other roads temporarily closed due to roadworks (Henderson Street, MacDonald Road, Great Junction Street next week and so it goes on…) which is ending up with even more  traffic being pushed on to Commercial Street, Duke Street, Great Junction Street, Ferry Road

Give your views via the survey here


Student Accommodation

There are several planning applications in the pipeline for new purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) in our area (Baltic Street / Constitution Street; Salamander Place / Street; Johns Lane; Manderston Street). This Community Council is objecting to all of these, mainly  – broadly speaking – on the grounds that they offer tiny rooms, very expensive for students, not anywhere near any university, exempt from Council Tax, exempt from having to build affordable housing, and exempt from Section 75 payments (i.e. payments to the Council for local infrastrucutre such as transport, schools, health etc.) and not easily convertible at a later date to livable accommodation for other tenants. And that what this community actually most needs is affordable new homes for ordinary people / families who need to live near their work or want to live in their own community.

Very few planning applications at all are in currently for homes, by the way.

How do you feel about this? Do you agree with the Community Council’s position on this? (Comments below are open)


Leith Local History Society, The Northern Light House Board

The next meeting of Leith Local History Society takes place on Tuesday, 16th January .

We meet in Leith Community Education Centre, New Kirgate at 7pm

Free to members and £2 for visitors.

This months event is a talk by Mike Bullock about he Northern Lighthouse Board who control and maintain all the lighthouses round the coast of Scotland.

You may have walked past their offices and control centre based in George Street and wondered about the flashing small lighthouse above the door,

I’m sure Mike’s talk will give an insight into the history and continued work of the Board.


Hope to see you there.

Have YOUR say on recent traffic changes around Leith – do it now!

Leith Links Community Council has created a survey to find out how the traffic changes recently introduced to Leith are affecting local people. We really want to hear from everybody – please fill it in!

You can access the survey here:

Please don’t delay, fill it in now. We will be collecting this information throughout January and February and will collate the information received and pass it on to the Council so that they have detailed information from real people who live and work here. The next few months are crucial. Not all of the changes are permanent yet – some, such as the bus gate on Links Place, and the blocking of Tolbooth Wynd, have been carried out on a ‘Temporary Traffic Regulation Order’, so feedback from local residents could help to determine whether or not they are made permanent, modified, or dropped.

Other changes are meant to be permanent, but if there is enough evidence to suggest they are not working well, there should be scope for them to be reviewed.

We’ve included both the low traffic neighbourhood and the controlled parking zone, because although these are the responsibility of 2 separate departments in the council, we know that both these schemes interact with each other in affecting our lives as local residents. Equally there is space for free text so you can add other comments.

Some people don’t bother with ‘consultations’ because they feel that the Council ‘always just does what it wants, whether people support it or not’. But this survey is different – it is NOT a Council consultation – we are your neighbours, and we WILL do our very best to use the information you supply to make the Council listen. The basic survey does not take long to complete, although there is scope within it to go into details about each different street, and specific changes, if you want to.

Thank you!

Oh, and, please pass the link on to your neighbours and ask them to fill it in too.


or via QR code

Joy to the World

Seasons Greetings

If you were writing a new Christmas Panto script and you were looking for an idea, then Leith’s Christmas tree could be it.

Our sad tale begins in Leith with tram works and a modern-day plague.

Constitution Street and Leith Walk ripped up, and then Covid strikes.

The Christmas Tree that was installed and stood proudly in the Kirkgate for many, many years had to find a temporary home, and after little or no consultation a decision was taken by council officers to place a tree in Taylor Gardens instead, with 6 lights (4 working) added to lamp standards.

It’s a nice enough tree, but really not the true location where  Leithers would expect it to be, and that is something council officials don’t grasp in their decision making process.

It was supposed to be a temporary move, not permanent, but although it may tick boxes with council officers they miss the point of how the community view things.

When I first asked our elected councillors why the tree hadn’t returned to the Kirkgate, Councillor Faccenda kindly wrote to council officers and received a reply with reasons why it couldn’t go back to the Kirkgate. But all of those ‘problems’ really could have been worked out, had there been a willingness from council public servants.

“Unfortunately due to the installation of the Tram lines we are now unable to provide any festive Lighting on Leith Walk which involves working at height. The installation on a cut Christmas Tree involves using a telehandler to lift the tree into position and then a cherry picker later to install the lights”

Where there’s a will there’s always a way of achieving the impossible?

Someone in the council also had the idea to plant a fir tree in Taylor Gardens which could become the Leith Christmas tree of the future.



In reply to Councillor Faccenda the council said about this tree (- and please don’t laugh but I suppose it’s panto time. It’s behind you!)

The decision to move the Kirkgate Christmas Tree along the road to Taylor Park has enabled us to plant a tree which will hopefully be ready for dressing with lights within the next 5 years or so. We will continue to provide an 8m cut tree here until the planted tree is ready.

Now as I’m of a certain age and don’t have a life, I’m drawn to TV programmes like Gardeners’ World and Landward, and having done a few Christmas Quizzes I can confidently say that planted tree will not be ready in ‘less than 5 years’

Quiz answer is 15 years before an average Christmas tree is ready.

So why do council officers put nonsense in emails and expect us to accept what they say without challenging them? I suppose their get-out clause legally was ‘or so‘.

They apparently know even less about trees than me and it comes across that they really don’t care,and possibly haven’t been down to Leith to have a look because they call it Park not Gardens.

They reply in a confident ‘I know what I’m talking about because I’m a council officer’ manner then they don’t expect to be called out for nonsense speak, they expect the community to just say ok,move on.

However they miss the point that it’s not just about location of a tree on a spreadsheet.

They don’t take into account how people who live in the area view it, and have shared memories of good and bad times

The historic heart of Leith for a tree has, for as long as I can remember, been the Kirkgate beside Queen Victoria’s statue. If you take a walk down there today it looks drab and uncared for, and especially at this time of year it could do with some cheer.

We keep getting told that Leith is hip and has a vibrant community and is a top 10 destination as a place to visit and stay.

You wouldn’t think that if, as a tourist, you arrived at the Foot of the Walk by tram to an area that Christmas seemed to have by-passed all because of council bureaucracy which prior to lockdown had never been an issue.

But if you get it right, people will keep coming back, and spend money in our community, and tell their friends what a great place it is with friendly and helpful locals.

It doesn’t have to be over the top flashy lights.

It just has to be welcoming, which is supposedly what we in Leith are good at.

I would like the community to support me in bringing the tree back to the Kirkgate in 2024 and hopefully with help from local businesses in the Kirkgate, to brighten the place up.

Take a trip out to Davidson Mains Street or the front at South Queensferry and you will see what some communities and businesses can achieve at this time of year.

Let me know what you think, and more importantly hit the email inboxes of your elected Leith Councillors, MP and MSP

Don’t moan, just drop them a quick email: BRING BACK THE CHRISTMAS TREE TO THE KIRKGATE

Yes, I know life is hellish at the moment for many, many people, and you can’t eat Christmas trees, but let’s give it a go for our own pride and self-respect returning.

Thanks, and have a peaceful and enjoyable festive holiday.

Jim Scanlon MBE

Chair, Leith Links Community Council


How should the Tourist Tax be spent? Update

Update by Sally Millar, Secretary , LLCC

I recently attended an online discussion meeting on how Edinburgh City Council should set up the forthcoming ‘tourist tax’ AKA ‘Visitor Levy’, and how the monies collected should be spent. This was illuminating, as I had not previously understood how constrained City of Edinburgh Council is by the underlying Scottish Government legislation, which states  –

  • The use of the net proceeds must relate to developing, supporting or sustaining facilities and services which are substantially for, or used by, persons visiting the local authorities area for leisure purposes.
  • In using the net proceeds, the council needs to consult on how this is spent and give regard to any local Tourism Strategy. 

Scottish Government has not yet finalised some aspects of the legislation and is being very heavily lobbied by the tourism and hospitality lobby. Personally, I think citizens and residents of our city should also be lobbying hard, to make sure that the tax benefits ALL in the city not just tourists/visitors and the tourism industry. I do believe now that Edinburgh City Council IS genuinely trying to listen to citizens and to get the balance right as best it can within the constraints of the legislation.

The Council is doing some ‘informal’ consulting to collect a range of views. There will be a bigger and more formal consultation later, but by then some of the key decisions will already have been made, probably, so better to get in NOW with your views.

Please take time to fill in this survey:


The Council recognises that it needs to reword some of its proposals and also probably to simplify the whole process so that it is clear and understandable and not too complicated or expensive to administer. So don’t be too alarmed by some of the questions (there is a ‘don’t know’ option for most of them anyway), but please do plough on to the later stages of the survey, about how the monies should be spent.

All the Community Councils in the recent discussion meeting worked hard to stress very strongly to the council that the two areas entitled ‘City Services’ and ‘City Infrastructure’ are the two highest priority areas to which spending should be directed. And that the other areas proposed should be omitted entirely or slimmed down substantially, both for simplicity and also for fairness to city residents. If you agree, please help by reinforcing this point in your response.

How should the Tourist Tax be spent?

Most people will have heard that the City of Edinburgh is going to charge visitors to the city a small charge per night, as many other cities do, all over the world. It has been called a ‘tourist tax’ and also a ‘visitor levy’.

The Council is now consulting on how the tax/levy should be set up and how the monies collected should be spent.

Please take time to fill in this survey. You may feel that you don’t have clear opinions in the first section (but there are ‘don’t know’ options) but PLEASE keep going until you get to the later section which is about how the monies should be spent.

You will see that the Council is proposing that it might be spent on advertising and promoting tourism. Is that what you think? Is that what it was originally meant for? Is that what the city most needs, and what council tax paying residents most urgently want to see done?

Please access the survey via this link, and give your views


We are surprised to see that this survey is not on the usual Consultation Hub platform, but is separate, and has apparently not been widely advertised. Why would that be? We are trying to find out.

Bin Hub locations under review – have your say now!

Bin Hub locations are under review – please send in your views

Do you have one of the Council’s new communal ‘bin hubs’ first installed a couple of years ago?   Are you happy with how it is working, and its location?   Is it easy for you to use?  If not would you like to see it re-located or something about it improved?   If so, now might be the time to raise your concerns and make suggestions.     We have heard that the Council is starting a review of locations of bin hubs that were first installed in and around Leith Links (Phase 1 and 2 of the Council’s project).   They aim to finish this by end of this year.    They will be using a decision ‘framework’ agreed by the Council last May – see Appendix 3 of  Communal Bin Review Update report – cp26.

In brief, an alternative location will be considered if at least one member of the public proposes it.   There are then a variety of policy constraints on location and capacity of a bin hub which must normally be no more than 50 metres from the furthest away property using it, though that can be relaxed up to 100m.   The policy seems to be that a bin hub cannot be across the road from the properties it serves, though there also do seem to be relaxations of that envisaged in roads with low traffic speeds and we clearly do have at least one bin hub across a road within the Leith Links area (a dead end near to St Mary’s primary school).

Where the Council identifies bin hubs which they think can be re-located they will contact the affected residents by letter to inform them of the new location and a new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)  will be advertised to secure the parking restrictions. It is anticipated the TROs, if any,  would be advertised early 2024 and implementation of any new bin hub locations will be delivered in late Spring/Summer 2024.

The Council has said they will review all the bin hubs locations of Phase 1 and 2 installations but have also asked us if there are any specific locations we would like them to prioritise.

So – if you would like your bin hub moved to a better place and have a proposed alternative location please let the Leith Links Community Council know (comment below and/or email: contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk), and also copy to your local elected Councillors.

 Even better if there is a group of neighbours who all want to see a change and agree what the better location would be.

We will publish more information on this review as we get it.

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