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