Is this the right way to develop along Seafield Road?

There is an online public consultation event on Thursday 28th January, by  Manse (Seafield) LLP, between 3pm and 7pm. You can attend and give your views.

Manse are proposing to submit a planning application for the Peter Vardy Vauxhall site, at 22-25 Seafield Road, where they want to build 2 very large blocks of flats. This is not strictly speaking in the Leith Links area, but it borders on it. Any new development along there will undoubtedly impact upon the Leith Links area. We would urge you to look not only at the plans Manse bring forward, but to think about them in the wider context of what the whole Seafield Road area could become.

Is developing individual segments like this the right way to go? Or could this proposal be be seen as leading to uncoordinated piecemeal development?

Overall, Seafield is a huge site stretching from the Sewage works right along to the erstwhile bus garage at the Portobello end. We all want to see new homes built, but do we want just any old blocks of flats, or could we aspire to more, for this unique seaside site?

Manse claim that they are kicking off a ‘Master Plan’ but actually what they are doing could be seen as pre-empting discussions and plans that are currently in train between the Council and the local communities for a ‘proper’ and coordinated Master Plan for the whole length of the Seafield site. 

There is inevitably going to be development at Seafield – the City of Edinburgh Council is proposing to allocate it as an “urban area housing-led mixed use site” in the next local development plan (City Plan 2030).

This opens up amazing opportunities, but also serious concerns. The whole site is enormous, If done right, this unique location could become one of Edinburgh’s ‘pearls’, creating access to the shore, a waterfront path connecting Portobello and Leith, and providing wonderful physical surroundings for living, and for outdoor activity. There could also be much needed options
for new and better transport connections with the City Centre.

But if done wrong this opportunity could be lost, leaving us with rows of dispiritingly ugly blocks in an uncoordinated ‘piecemeal’ development, and not enough thought given to the infrastructure these developments will require. Such an approach may serve the interests of developers, but may not be to the benefit of new residents on this huge site or to existing
local communities.

We want to work with City of Edinburgh Council to produce a Master Plan that will deliver a high-quality environment for present and future generations. It is vital that the local communities are fully consulted.

Leith Links Community Council has joined forces with Craigentinny and Meadowbank Community Council, Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council, and Portobello Community Council whose areas all border this large site. We have formed a group called Seafield: connecting coastal communities and are working with the City of Edinburgh council and hoping to stimulate meaningful discussions with all parties in the local communities, the Council, the landowners and the developers, and that together we can help shape and bring to life our vision of a fabulous waterfront area, for the benefit of residents and local communities. Land-owners and developers have been asked to hold planning proposals until matters are progressed somewhat through a ‘Sounding Board’ discussion with all parties. This group is urging the Council not to support the pre-emptive Manse proposal as it could damage the hope of a glorious future for the overall Seafield waterfront area.