Leith Links Community Council voices support for street trading licence application relating to former Police box on Leith Links
A few weeks ago City of Edinburgh Council informed us that it was considering an application it had received from someone seeking a street traders licence in relation to the disused former Police box on Leith Links. Representations in relation to the application could be submitted by any interested party, including our Community Council.
We have not yet been advised whether the application has been granted, or not.
In response to the application we submitted the following representation;
Representation relating to Street Traders Licence application 48396.
On 7 December 2021 we were informed by you that a Street Traders License application (48396) relating to the Leith Links Police Box area was being considered, and that representation could be made by 4 January 2022.
Having considered the application notice & site map before us I can advise that Leith Links Community Council SUPPORT this application.
In doing so we offer the following comments;
- As is customary with civic licensing matters very little information has been made available to this Community Council, or the wider community. As such, it is difficult for the Community Council, or indeed other respondents, to be able to fully understand the situation or fully consider the benefits or implications for our community. We would take this opportunity to encourage City of Edinburgh Council to ensure that on every occasion it engages with our Community Council that it does so meaningfully, and ensures that both parties are privy to any information required in relation to the topic being considered.
- We understand that it is the intention of the applicant to trade hot & cold drinks and snacks. There are of course number of other businesses trading near the former Police Box, some of whom sell similar products however we do not believe that this application should result in an overprovision, based on the operating hours of nearby businesses which are very different from the proposed trading hours permitted by this application.
- The Police box has previously attracted vandalism, in the form of both graffiti and fly posting. Since the 1980s is has been well established that graffiti and vandalism, as well as being unsightly, can cause people to feel unsafe and can negatively influence how people conduct themselves in an area with such occurrences. As such we feel that bringing the Police Box into meaningful use will deter any further graffiti & fly posting, but will also provide the prompt removal of any which does occur.
- Three well used footways converge at the site of the Police Box, where there are also two signalised pedestrian crossings crossing well busy roads. These footways and crossings are used by a wide spectrum of community members, including many who benefit from having the publicly owned footway kept clear of obstructions. The Council should appropriately monitor the locus for any such obstructions, and have in place provision to deal with any such non permitted encroachments promptly and effectively. It should also be noted that due to the close proximity of two schools, there are often children using the pavement in front of the applicants site to make to their way to and from school.
- The business operations of the Police Box should not encroach onto the common good land of Leith Links, in example the grassed areas or the footpaths within. This should include not using the greenspace for the storage or any other positioning of refuse, stock, tables and chairs etc.
- It is likely that a large number of Police Box patrons will carry their purchased goods into the Leith Links greenspace for consumption. We are concerned that this could generate additional waste, which may be in significant amounts, especially during periods of sunny and or hot weather. As such we would ask that consideration is given as to whether there is enough litter bin capacity within Leith Links, or whether there are additional litter bins needed, and also whether current litter bins require to be moved position within the greenspace. We would request that appropriate monitoring takes place over coming months, particularly during hot and or sunny weather periods.
- As the Police Box is located directly adjacent to a busy road, near a junction, the operator should take appropriate steps to ensure that no vehicle servicing the Police Box, such as the operator, their staff or suppliers utilise the pavement or roadway in such a way so as to cause a nuisance or safety risk whilst parking or loading/unloading, including ensuring that no such vehicle mounts of the footpath or greenspace. Consideration should be given by the Council as to whether the current yellow lines are appropriate or whether it requires to take further measures to make them enforceable, and of course regular monitoring of this location should take place.
- Leith Links can generally be described as a busy and well used greenspace, for a variety of purposes. Visitor numbers can grow considerably during periods of significant sunshine & heat, and during organised events such as Leith Festival Gala Day. It is our view that it is important that appropriate visitor amenities are provided within the Leith Links greenspace area such as adequate litter bin provision, toilet facilities and seating. The provision of drinks & snacks being available from the Police Box we will add to the visitor experience in a positive manner.
- We are aware that in November and December 2021 the applicant has undertaken business activity at the locus, similar to that for which the license is sought, without any complaints or concerns being raised with us.
- Council waste bins provided in Leith Links, and in the streets adjacent to the Police Box are provided for non-commercial usage, as such the applicant will require to have in place their own trade waste removal arrangements. We would seek to request that all trade waste is kept off the greenspace or public footway at all times. And that should trade waste be left on a pavement for collection that the business has in place proper arrangements to keep control of such waste to ensure that it is not unsightly or becomes scattered across the footpath or greenspace. Where such refuse becomes scattered, either by seagulls or misdemeanour of passing persons, that the applicants assumes full responsibility and clears any such debris promptly and without any costs being incurred by the local authority.
- We would suggest and encourage the applicant to minimise the use of disposable and single use packaging where at all possible.
- The locus is adjacent to busy roads, no doubt there are fumes being produced by many of the vehicles using those roads which may render seating at those locations as being unpleasant, however the level of exposure would not be greater than a person standing at the nearest bus stops, as such we have no serious concerns relating to this matter, and view this as a matter of choice for the patrons themselves to consider whether they may use of such a facility or not.
- We would encourage the City of Edinburgh Council to include this applicant, as well as other businesses operating within or very nearby to Leith Links to be considered stakeholders and to be consulted/notified of planned events on Leith Links as well as be involved in any discussions about the future of Leith Links.
We hope that you, and any other appropriate City of Edinburgh Council colleagues will read, consider and record our comments, and where appropriate undertake any necessary follow up activity.
It would be of interest to us to be notified of the outcome of your deliberations, such as whether the license is granted, and any applicable terms & conditions which would apply.
Should you wish to discuss this response with our Community Council please do not hesitate to contact Community Councillor Sally Millar, Secretary, by emailing email@example.com.