A Toilet Saga

We love the public toilets on Leith Links! People have also commented on how clean they are – thanks to the toilet attendants. So, overall, it’s a big ‘Thank You’ from us, not a complaint!

BUT  – 11 weeks to get basic information informing the local community…..can you believe it? Here’s the timeline…

12 May 2022 – temporary (Portakabin style) toilets are delivered to the Links.

Someone living locally just happens to see the vehicle delivering them. At no time did the Council officially inform the Community Council of the plan of action for the toilets, or the timescales, although we were ‘tipped off’ that they were coming sometime soon.

Sometime (unclear) in May – The toilets are connected up and made functional,  attendants are appointed to look after the toilets, and start work. No announcement, no information.

June 8 – One local reports that the toilets are open and working.

Throughout June – Numerous locals keep asking, repeatedly; Are there toilets coming? Where are the toilets? Why are the toilets closed? When will they be opening? No signs, no information, the doors are always closed, no sign of life……

26 June  – Your Community Council asks the Council, via our three elected Councillors,  for clarification and full information about the situation.

27 June – The Community Council is informed by a Council Officer working for Councillor Adam McVey that the toilets are open from 10-8pm, 7 days a week, with a full time attendant. They are just hidden from view behind hedges and look closed.

29 June – At the behest of the Community Council, the Council Officer agrees to ask toilet supervisor to put signs up detailing opening hours. A local asks the toilet attendant to leave the external door open during the day so people can see they are open. There are two attendants, each working 4 days on, 4 days off.

29 June – Your Community Council posts widely on this site, on our own social media (Facebook & Twitter) and on ‘I Love Leith’ to spread the word about where the toilets are, and when they are open, etc., attracting many grateful comments from Leithers who had been unaware of them or confused about opening hours etc.

1 July – Doubt and confusion persist. It is very clear that what is missing is signage. Your Community Council asks the Council:

“PLEASE can we have 
1. an instruction to the attendant to leave the door open when the toilets are open, so people can see they are open.
2. A sign on the door or on the outside of the toilet block announcing its opening hours.
3. Signs around the Links pointing to where the toilets are located
4. A couple of A-boards on the Links nearby ( eg at the Playpark) that the attendant puts up as he comes on shift, that says ‘toilets OPEN until 8pm’) 
Meanwhile the Community Council is doing its bit to try to raise awareness on this matter. It seems a pointless waste of Council money and effort to put toilets on the Links that don’t get used because people don’t know they are there / open.
Surely some signs must be possible?
Thanks”

2 July – Since the Council have not produced any signs, your Community Council designs, prints, laminates and ties numerous signs to fences around the Links. (Some of these are still there, some have blown off or been torn down.)

At some point in July (unclear) – A couple of handwritten notices go up on the back of the building, on a gate and on the toilet doors stating that opening hours are 10 – 6pm.

Your Community Council was never informed of an official change to the opening hours. However, a local person had observed that the toilet attendant was closing up earlier than 8pm on several occasions, and this was reported to the Council. A reply came back from the Council that this was due to “anti-social behaviour”. (Unclear what this consisted of, no details available.) A recent conversation with the very helpful toilet attendant reveals that there has not been any official change of hours and it should still say 8pm. The handwritten signs are now smudged and unclear.

22 July – a Council vehicle and workers are observed putting up official ‘Public Toilet’ signs around the Links  (at least in the area nearest to the playpark and toilets). Hurrah!

From this we conclude that it takes the Council almost three months to deliver the most basic of information signage, with regard to public facilities – and only as a result of  repeated requests from the community. Given that the toilets are only there for about five or six months altogether, this seems indicative of woeful carelessness if not incompetence. Yes, it’s just a small thing in the grander scheme of things, but surely Councils should be able to get the small things right (or we might just doubt their ability to get bigger things right….)

Let’s be clear – we are all EXTREMELY GRATEFUL for the public toilets on Leith Links! 

However, we know this must all cost a lot of money and it seems a pathetic waste of money to put toilets and attendants there without making the public aware of them. Could the Council do better at thinking things through fully and in a joined-up way?  – basically, if it thought about things from the point of view of the community it is there to serve, rather than from its own point of view (forgot, cheaper, easier, low priority, too busy – whatever)? And if it shared information with the community organisations  – such as the Community Council –  whose very role is to share information with the local community?

Next year, please can we have toilets again, and PLEASE (rather than being kept secret) can they be provided in conjunction with information to the local community?

Come and view Links Plan Display Boards at Leith Library

Display boards outlining the proposed MasterPlan for the improvement of Leith Links are now on view to the public in the foyer of Leith Library, Ferry Road.  Please go and have a good look, and then please do send in your response to the plans.

There should be leaflets on site in the library with a QR code you can use, otherwise you can find the consultation at https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/leith-links-masterplan/ 

PS There is very little funding available to actually carry out the plans, it will all have to be ‘raised’  – somehow – so it’s important that it is clear what the top priorities / favourites are from amongst the suggestions. Let your views be heard.

PPS If things get done on the Links that you don’t like, you might wish you had spoken up about them when you had the chance…..

The toilets are very much OPEN!

Some people seem confused about the toilets on Leith Links. Here are the facts:

The toilets are opened from 10.00am to 20.00pm,  7 days per week. There is a council attendant looking after the toilets. This will be the situation throughout the summer.

The toilets are situated in a grey ‘Portakabin’ type building sitting right next door to the old bowling greens building, up at the Croft end of the Links, behind the tennis courts (shown in blue in the picture below). (The attendant may use the old bowling green building next door to store materials, or to sit in, if wet etc.)

                   

To access the toilets, you need to enter the old bowling green area by one of three gates:

  • one is open to the road on Links Place, more or less opposite Salamander Place
  • one leads off the entrance path to the Links at the bottom of Johns Place
  • one is a little gate further along that path that leads into the tennis courts area, behind the toilets and bowling green area. (This one is probably the nearest for people at the playpark or in the main body of the Links.)

(behind the blue tennis courts, top of this pic)

 

What is missing is signage. Because the toilets are behind the hedge, and facing ‘away’ from the Links, people may not spot them.

And / or people may see that the doors on both buildings are shut, and assume that the toilets are shut – but they aren’t!

We have asked the Council to put notices up to direct people to the toilets and to clarify opening times. If they don’t do that soon, we’ll put some up ourselves.

This sounds mad, but please use the toilets!  If nobody uses them, we’ll not be able to make a good case for needing toilets on the Links permanently.

 

 

New MasterPlan to improve Leith Links – your views? Urgent!

Leith Links is a great park and we all love it –  BUT it could certainly be EVEN BETTER!
In
recent months, a new 10 year ‘concept MasterPlan’ for improving the Links has been developed, by a team led by the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Thriving Greenspaces Project’ and including representatives from a number of local organisations; ourselves i.e. Leith Links Community Council, Earth in Common / Links Activity Park group, Leith Councillors, some local residents, and consulting a wide range of ‘stakeholders’ such as Leith Athletic, Leith Franklin Cricket Club, Duncan Place, local Primary Schools etc.

The final draft has now been published and it is open to public consultation  RIGHT NOW (closing on 22 July 2022).

        
You can see the plans and give your views via the Council web site
If you don’t like using the Consultation Hub with its usual forced route through leading questions, then please feel free to write / email in with your thoughts and ideas to thrivinggreenspaces@edinburgh.gov.uk (and it’s a good idea to copy to your local Councillors),  and/ or use the comments facility below to record your thoughts and we will forward them to the project team.
Whichever route(s) you choose, please do it NOW, before the holidays, otherwise you might forget, and miss your chance!
The draft master plan is based on the conversations we have been leading and facilitating  over the past year, about what local people need and want. It lays out a vision of what could happen in the future, but there is no guarantee at this stage that it will actually happen; significant new funding is still to be found, and support from the local community is vital (if there are objections or new suggestions, there is plenty time for these to be taken into account, the details of the plan are NOT a ‘foregone conclusion’).
  
The plan includes lots of great ideas (yes, including permanent toilets!), such as nicer benches, better bins, improved lighting, wheelchair accessible picnic tables, cycle parking, wildflower meadow, use of surfaces for heritage mural, arboretum (started already), ping pong tables, a ‘trim trail’ and 3km fitness loop and a ‘natural play area’ at the east of the Links. Also a modern bandstand (or ‘outdoor performance space’), and many other upgrades.
         
To bring the old bowling greens area back into productive use, there is a proposal for an ‘Activity Park’ that could incorporate a bike pump track and a skatepark.
A skatepark came out as a very popular suggestion, in last year’s surveys that we carried out, and is likely to be heavily promoted by its supporters – but there are also issues to be explored about what impact it might have on near neighbours.
Please make sure YOUR voice is heard!
 

Next meeting of Leith Links Community Council, Monday 27th June at 6:30pm, online

The next meeting of the Leith Links Community Council will be held on Monday 27th June at 6:30pm, online (Microsoft Teams)

Papers for the meeting will be issued soon.

Scottish Water and the operators of Seafield, Veolia, will be attending to give an update on the sewage plant and answer questions about recent odour issues.

As always, our meetings are open to interested members of the public. If you wish to attend, please email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk and you will be sent an invitation / link for the meeting.

LEITH CONSULTATIONS

Just like when you’re waiting on a 16 bus stuck in a traffic jam three arrive at the same time.

The City Council have added three really important consultations for the future of Leith to the consultation hub on the city council webpage.

LEITH CONNECTIONS PHASE 3

Leith Connections: Phase 3 west – east proposals – City of Edinbu

Leith Connection Phase 3 has some lovely graphics including one of Salamander Street with a new cycle lane and narrowed road space for cars and trucks that I’m sorry to say do have to use our roads every day on one of the main arterial routes East to West through the city.

I also find it strange that the graphic doesn’t show the CPZ plan for the same route which had permit holder and pay and display parking on Salamander Street at the same view in the graphic so I do wonder IF these teams actually communicate with each other.

The Leith Connection Phase 3 consultation is open until 17 July so please, please make your thoughts known.

 

ETRO Go Home?

The next consultation is on ETRO which we may remember in a previous life was known as Spaces for People. Love it or loathe it,  the road coning and closures project introduced to make streets safer for cycling, walking and wheeling during the pandemic is now finally up for public consultation. This is your opportunity to comment on the future plans. Do you want them kept or ditched? Have your say now or you could be stuck with them permanently.

 

LEITH LINKS MASTERPLAN 

Finally, the Leith Links Master Plan is also open on the consultation hub for your positive or negative comments. Please use this opportunity to add your views on how you would like to see Leith Links developed for all residents in the future.

The Leith Links Masterplan Team had a stall at Leith Gala and many members of the public visited the tent to find out more and to share their views, so now it’s your turn to do the same.

You can see more about the plans here.

Leith Links Masterplan – City of Edinburgh Council – Citizen Space

You can also comment here, on the Hub, but you’ll only find a very limited set of leading questions. If you have more to say on any specific point, you should email directly to Miles.Wilkinson@edinburgh.gov.uk

The deadline for this consultation is 31 July. Please also be sure to copy your email also to our elected Councillors:

Chas.Booth@edinburgh.gov.uk

Cllr.Katrina.Faccenda@edinburgh.gov.uk

Adam.McVey@edinburgh.gov.uk

 

 

Public Toilets on Leith Links

Hurrah! The temporary public toilet block for spring / summer on Leith Links has now been delivered and should be linked up for plumbing and power very shortly.

Public toilets are vital for everyone especially as the days get longer and warmer, and more people spend longer out of doors in the park. Public toilets also empower the community as a whole, because community events involving large numbers of people can be organised.

As last year, the toilet block will be manned by a Council attendant. We are very grateful to these guys for their work and we ask the community to treat them with respect. However, they cannot be expected  to do ‘everything’, especially if it involves putting themselves at risk. If serious anti social behaviour occurs in the park while they are present they will call the police.

 

Temporary toilets coming to Leith Links (Again)

You’ll recall that last year City of Edinburgh Council provided temporary toilet facilities on Leith Links – we wrote about it here and here.

Similar facilities will provided again this year, which is good news! No confirmed date for installation has been made know to us but we have been informed by a local Councillor that the timescale will be broadly in line with last years.

The long term future of toilet provision on Leith Links continue to be an aspiration shared by many people across our community, including this Community Council but as yet this is a matter which remains under robust active dialogue.

 

 

 

Additional / improved street lighting for Leith Links?

We have learnt that City of Edinburgh Council took the decision last week to fund street lighting improvements in parks, with a budget of £150,000.

It is clear that citizens across Edinburgh will hoping for some of that funding to be spent in various parks, and it is highly likely the Council officers and Councillors will already have some intentions about which parks will benefit from the cash.

Therefore, if you feel that Leith Links requires additional or improved street lighting, it is important that you make that view known as soon as possible by emailing parks@edinburgh.gov.uk, and also emailing one of the Leith Ward Councillors;

When emailing them it is important that you are specific about your request (for example, just saying the whole of Leith Links is unlikely to receive support but if you identify a particular route through Leith Links that requires lighting for example that may be better received.  You should also say why you feel the additional  or improved lighting is needed perhaps share your feelings when walking through the route currently).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leith Links Community Council next meeting Monday 28th February 6:30 online

The next meeting of the Leith Links Community Council will be held on Monday 28th, February at 6:30pm, online (Microsoft Teams)

The Agenda for the next meeting and minutes of January’s meeting will be issued shortly

As always, our meetings are open to interested members of the public. If you wish to attend, please email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk and you will be sent an invitation / link for the meeting.

Thank you for your support

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