Consultation Report about Leith Links former Bowling Greens

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:

  1.    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.
  2.    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.
  3.    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:

Brief Summary

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.

Download the whole report here

or just read on here….
» Read more

Funfair on Leith Links 16-21 September

Delayed since its usual June ”season’ alongside the Leith Festival, the Funfair is coming back to the Links for a short period, in its traditional location on the western edge of the park.

They will start setting up on Tuesday 14th September and will be open 16-21st September.

Following local stakeholder engagement (including with this Community Council), the following changes have been made to the conditions of the event:

  • a shorter run
  • earlier closure (8:30pm) for safety, because of darker nights at this time of year
  • an increased Reinstatement Bond, to ensure any damage done to the Links (eg by vehicles) can be fully repaired with no cost to Council / taxpayers.

Former bowling greens area – quickie wee survey please!

Please will you take a few minutes to fill in this wee survey?

The conversation about possible futures for the bowling green area on the Links continues, and we need to feed back to the Council soon.

At the Community Picnic on 17th July, we asked all the people attending to put coloured stickers on a board to indicate their views and preferences. Now we need to ask the same questions of the wider community, to try to get the largest and most representative number of responses.

Please fill in this wee survey – it’s really not long or difficult.

(Unfortunately, we obviously can’t guarantee that you will actually get what you tick, in the end – it’s not a ‘vote’ as such. All the Community Council can do is to consult people for views, and share ideas and information. But we do think the Council is at least listening to what the people of Leith Links have to say about this neglected area, and about the park in general. We have heard there may be a Master Plan for the whole of the Links, coming up.)

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.

 

 

Public toilets empower our community

Seems everybody enjoyed our community picnic on Leith Links on Saturday (hurrah!). Yes, we were very lucky with the weather (phew!), but what actually made it possible was the public toilets.

You simply couldn’t organise any public event without toilets –  but only big commercial events can afford to buy in ‘portaloos’, not small community groups. So public toilets are not just vital for individuals, they are enabling and empowering for the community. A local community is a life force, not just a ‘place’. Feeling part of our community can help our mental health and well-being.

Thanks for our toilets, City of Edinburgh Council! (And thanks to Steven for manning them nobly on Saturday.) Please can we keep them?

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

Community Picnic Planning meeting, 29th June, 7pm via Zoom

Things are moving on the former bowling greens….

  • the building has been painted
  • a new public toilet block has been installed – this is temporary until September.

At our last public meeting we agreed to hold a Community Picnic on Saturday 17th July, 1-3pm (weather permitting) in the bowling green area, to raise awareness amongst park users about possible futures for the bowling green area. We are still waiting for the go-ahead from the Council for this event, but planning is taking shape.

Because of Covid restrictions, the picnic will have to be pretty simple and ‘low key’, but we hope to at least bring some members of our community together, and try to collect views from the public on their favourites from the list of suggested possible futures for the area. People will be asked to bring their own picnic. Barbeques will not be permitted. Novelty activities for kids will be provided.

If you want to get involved and are able to volunteer to help with the community picnic in any capacity, eg. planning and on the day, please join the meeting 7pm, Tuesday 29th June.

To get the Zoom link for this meeting, please email: contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk

Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Review of the outline of picnic plans so far
  2. Covid safety planning
  3. Discussion of details of picnic
  4. Volunteers and ‘job allocation’

 

Leith Links Plus – ex bowling greens – Next meeting Monday 21st June

Since our last public meeting, a couple of things have happened:

  • the outside of the building has been painted  – shoutout of thanks to Councillor Chas Booth, who persuaded Council staff to do this.
  • we’ve heard that temporary public toilets are going to be installed beside the building (to access water and sewers)  – very soon!

2 articles have appeared in the Evening News last week:

To keep in the loop, please join a public meeting about the possible future of the ‘former bowling green area and building’ on Leith Links, at a Zoom meeting, 7pm, Monday 21 June.

Sign up there to attend,  via Eventbrite

You need to sign up by 4pm on Monday 2st and will receive the link at 5pm. If it’s not there by 6pm, check your spam, or email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk

Minutes of the last meeting here (coming soon)

Minutes of the first meeting here.

Draft Agenda for the meeting:

  1. Brief recap of legal restrictions affecting the area
  2. Feedback since last meeting
  3. Tour of new area of LLCC website
  4. Report from Working Group on Community Picnic
  5. Ideas and volunteers for community picnic
  6. Medium Term Aims – Refine list of proposals, community deliberation, explore skills and expertise available etc.
  7. Date of Next Meeting

 

Reminder: Leith Links arboretum consultation closes on 18 June 2021.

Earlier this year City of Edinburgh Council began planting an eighty four tree arboretum on Leith Links as part of partnership working involving The Mushroom Trust, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust and The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

This image shows the site of the Leith Links arboretum, note that planting has already began on the site.

Their consultation on their plans closes on 18 June 2021, so if you have not yet taken the time to complete the consultation survey please do so over the next few days. It is important that as many people in our community as possible are involved in deciding whether there should be an arboretum, where it should be, how it should be used and the way in which it should be managed.

Filming on the Links Wednesday 9th June

If you see a small crowd protesting on Leith Links on Wednesday, it’s not the start of the revolution, it’s a film crew filming a drama.

This will take place between about 0900 and 1300 near to the Vanburgh Place  / Academy Lofts bit of the Links, and over towards Wellington Place.

The company has full permissions in place. Filming should not be unduly noisy or disruptive, but any complaints should be directed to Mr. Neil Mackay, Location Manager, on nrmackay@aol.com or phone the City of Edinburgh’s film office 0131 6227337

Parking spaces have been reserved for the film crew between Merith House Hotel and Park View Hotel.

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