Call for urgent action – local building at risk of collapse

Responding to local residents’ concerns about their safety, the Chair of Leith Links Community Council (LLCC) has called on City of Edinburgh Council urgently to use its extensive powers to protect the public by requiring the owner of a building at risk of collapse in John’s Lane to make it safe and repair it.

22 John’s Lane is a listed Georgian warehouse which has been neglected for many years. It has been on the Historic Environment Scotland ‘Buildings at Risk Register’ since 1991, though pictures there show it had a roof at that time which is now long gone. See  22, John’s Lane, Leith | Buildings at Risk Register

The outer wall facing John’s Lane is now leaning dangerously and at over 3 storeys high, with obviously eroded mortar, a high wind could cause a collapse. Any falling masonry could cause damage or injury to passers by in this narrow lane, off Queen Charlotte Street. In addition to providing rear access to a number of homes and businesses, John’s Lane is used by a local garage business and their customers.

Clearly the owner of the building is responsible, but the Council has strong powers to act to prevent any accidents from the obvious neglect of this structure. It can issue a Dangerous Building Notice which is used by Local Authorities to protect the public when it appears that the building owner has failed to prevent the building from falling into a dangerous condition. The notice is served to require a building owner to reduce or remove the danger posed by a building.

A Dangerous Building Notice requires the owner “to make safe or demolish a building that poses a threat to public safety. Repair Notices can be served on both listed and unlisted properties, and specify those works considered reasonable and necessary for the preservation of a building, along with a timescale within which these works should be completed. Failure to comply within the specified deadline may result in works being undertaken by the local planning authority, and a charge being made to the owner(s).

The Council can also issue an Urgent Works Notice on vacant listed properties, to allow the local planning authority to undertake emergency works such as the erection of supportive scaffolding or temporary roof structures.

Leith Links Community Council reports acute concern

LLCC Chair, Jim Scanlon, said ‘I feel this is a very urgent issue because of the risks to life that the condition of the building currently represents.’

You can read the full letter sent by the LLCC Chair to the Council here [link]

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If you are concerned about a dangerous structure and don’t know who owns it, you can contact the City of Edinburgh Council Shared Repairs Service who have the responsibility for this type of issue.  Further information can be found here Unsafe buildings and emergency repairs – The City of Edinburgh Council
The email address is esrs@edinburgh.gov.uk. ‘

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What’s Happening around Leith Links this summer?

Here’s what we know about – please contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk if you know of any other events on or around the Links in the next couple of months, that local people might like to be aware of.

Public Toilets
The Links were supposed to be getting a permanent public toilet block this summer, but it has been delayed, apparently, for various reasons, and will not now be built until the autumn or later…watch this space….
HOWEVER, good news – the Links WILL be getting temporary public toilets, like the past few years. If you want to know when exactly these will be arriving we suggest that you all – like this Community Council – email your local Councillors to ask when / and can they please try to speed the process up, stressing the urgent need that you and your family and friends experience for toilets, now that the weather is improving and people are spending longer out of doors.
Cllr.katrina.faccenda@edinburgh.gov.uk; chas.booth@edinburgh.gov.uk; adam.mcvey@edinburgh.gov.uk

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Duncan Place
All sorts of exciting events & activities take place at Duncan Place Community Hub, including sociable and undemanding ‘Seasonal Strolls’ around the Links, usually on Wednesday lunchtimes (But not every week- check with Duncan Place for schedule). Sign up here to receive their regular Newsletter, to keep abreast of what’s on.

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Earth in Common (on the corner of the Links at the Queen Charlotte Street end of John’s Place) now offers a Cafe and Farm Shop (Food Hub).
Cafe open Tuesday -Friday 9-3pm and Saturday-Sunday 10-4pm for tea and coffee, homemade sweet treats and a simple vegetarian menu.
Farm Shop sells local produce like vegetables, eggs and milk

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Leith Links Funfair
The traditional ‘shows’ will be on the Links this year as they are every year around Leith Festival time (over on the Duncan Place side) Sunday 2nd – Sunday 9th June

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Leith Festival Gala Day
This traditional community event will be held on Saturday 8th June

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Leith Festival 8th – 16th June
For news of the many exciting events held all around Leith during the Leith Festival, see www.leithfestival.com and look out for the printed paper programme which you will be able to pick up soon all over Leith (in cafes, pubs etc.)

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World Orienteering Championships 2024 – 12 July
This one off event will be held on and around the Links on the morning of  Friday 12 July, with start & finish points on the small triangle on the west side of Leith Links at Duncan Place, beside Leith Primary School. For more information, see www.woc2024.org/woc-tour/

Organisers are keen for people to come along and spectate too. The WOC races earlier in the morning on Leith Links will be the most exciting for spectating and there will be a ‘Finals’ event culminating in Central Edinburgh the same afternoon.

Latest news is that there are also going to be ‘open’ races for spectators / the local community, on the main part of the Links, slightly later in the day, with entries open to anyone – the shortest courses are suitable for complete beginners!  These involve people running around, navigating to checkpoints marked with a stake, small flag and electronic timing box. Entries are at:

https://www.sientries.co.uk/event.php?elid=Y&event_id=1280

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Archeology tests on the Links

Please be aware that there will be people working on site at the bowling greens at Leith Links this Thursday 9th May.  In case you are wondering – and to combat any possible misinformation – these are workers from AOC Archaeology Group who have been officially contracted to carry out archaeological tests at the site. This is part of the development work and site scoping for the proposed Activity Hub project (part of the Leith Links MasterPlan).

Hello Sun! ……Hello Stench?

As the weather warms and softens a little, local people will have noticed the return of our old friend(?),  the disgusting ‘Seafield Stench’.

Despite the assurances of the sewage plant operator Veolia, that the weather and the smells are not connected, we have all noticed that the Stench seems to descend on sunny days, just to try us. Report smells here!

Same campaign success, some progress?

Although it is a long-running saga, local people may remember that our years of campaigning DID get the Scottish Government to commit funding-

  1.  – to build a £100,000 million state-of-the-art new Sewage Plant, starting in 2029 when the current private finance agreement with Veolia comes to an end, and
  2.  – in the meantime, to spend £10 million on improvements to the existing plant, aimed at reducing odour problems.

These improvements are, sadly, still at the procurement stage, and they are not expected to ‘break ground’ until early 2025. Though they may well improve things longer term, it’s possible that there will be more, rather than fewer, stink incidents next year, as the work disrupts the normal running of the plant. So it’s important to keep them on their toes!

Reporting Portal Working again, please report!

Those in authority have openly admitted that our reporting facility (see on this page), which so many of you used to great effect, was a huge factor in getting the Government to commit to spending on Seafield. Unfortunately, for the past few months it hasn’t been working properly due to technical glitches

However, we have got the report form system working again and some of you have already been using it to complain about our recent, treasured sunny days becoming stinky days.

So please take the few moments needed to report every time you smell sewage from Seafield. Your reports go to every official who has anything to do with Seafield Waste Water Treatment facility, right up to the Scottish Government Minister, who gets every email!

It worked the last time, let’s keep the pressure up!

Report smells here! leithlinkscc.org.uk/seafieldnuisancereportform

Next Meeting of Leith Links Community Council, 29 April 6:30p, online (Teams)

The next meeting of the Leith Links Community Council will be held online only (via Teams) on Monday 29th April, at 6:30pm.

Agenda April 2024.

Minutes of previous meeting available here.

February 2024 Police Report here.

March 2024 Police Report here.

The meeting is held in public, to allow interested local residents to participate, as well as members of the CC. Please email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk if you wish to attend, and you will be sent a link.

Leith Local History Society April talk BRUCE KEITH Scotland Beneath the Surface

Bruce Keith joins us again for his talk, Scotland Beneath the Surface

Everything underground! Souterrains, manmade tunnels from castles and for roads and railways, pumped storage schemes, mines for coal and shale, quarries and more…

The talk is at Leith Community Education Centre, New Kirkgate, Leith (up the stair from the shops) on Tuesday 19 March 2024, at 7.00 pm. Admission is £2∙00, or free for members 

llhs_flyer_for_apr_2024

Leith Links Litterpick, Saturday 27th April – Join us!

In partnership with our friends at Duncan Place Community Hub, Leith Links Community Council is organising a community litterpick on Leith Links on Saturday 27th April, from 10am until 12 noon

Please do join us! All are welcome! Adults and children!
Litterpicking  – believe it or not – is strangely enjoyable and satisfying.

Litterpickers and bags will be provided but please bring your own work gloves.

Meet outside 4 Duncan Place (next to the school) at 10am on 27th.

Your last chance to comment on Low Traffic Neighbourhood! Do you like the bus gate on Links Place?

There are a few aspects of the Leith Low Traffic Neighbourhood that still have ‘temporary’ status, and could perhaps still be overturned. You must send in your views before 8th April. They don’t make it easy for you – no clear questions on the Consultation Hub – you need to email in with your views. But please, do take the time to do this!

How to respond

Leith Connections  – Low Traffic Neighbourhood
https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cycling-walking-projects-1/leith-connections/5
Email your views on the Experimental Traffic Order (eg. on the bus gate on Links Place) and/ or general views on the low traffic neighbourhood to Edinburgh.Consultation@projectcentre.co.uk
and copy to leithconnections@edinburgh.gov.uk

We are aware that the community holds mixed views on the Low Traffic Neighbourhood overall, but there does seem to be consensus on one particular issue – the ‘bus gate’ on Links Place. The Community Council discussed this at our recent meeting and agreed to share the view that we find the bus gate to be unnecessary and unhelpful – potentially dangerous – and would like to see this overturned, with Links Place returned to two way traffic, for the following reasons. But of course, if you disagree, feel free to comment here below, and to send in your views to the consultation.

  • The bus gate is dangerous. Because of the bus gate, all traffic (including buses, though excluding taxis) trying to head west is forced to turn right into Salamander Place. This creates a very congested and dangerous junction at the corner of Links Place / Salamander Place / Links Gardens.
  • The Salamander Place roadway was not designed as a major traffic through route, and is not fit for purpose;  it is cobbled and has many large holes and bumps along its length. Two way bus traffic is making the surface worse every day. It is dangerous for pedestrians as it is quite wide, but there are no crossing points except at the junction with Salamander Street.
  • Because of the location of St. Marys Primary School nearby, many children heading into and home from school have to cross the road at this dangerous junction. The school crossing patrol officer on duty at this corner often comments on how dangerous the junction at this corner is. Locals often observe chaos at the junction as buses and lorries have to ‘queue up’ on either side of the road narrowing build out on Links Place to make the turn.
  • The bus gate on Links Place actually makes Links Gardens much more dangerous for pedestrians, including pupils, staff and parents at St. Mary’s Primary School. All traffic coming up Salamander Place (including lorries from the docks etc.) now has to turn left along past the entrance to the school.
  • The bus gate is unnecessary. Links Place is not a particularly busy route for traffic anyway, since the introduction of the trams and the consequent closure of the south end of Constitution Street to traffic – plus the later closure of Tolbooth Wynd and Burgess Street, Sandport Bridge etc. – there is no ‘through route’ anyway westward along Links Place, so the traffic using it would be mainly local people, rather than it ever becoming a ‘rat run’.
  • This stretch of Links Place is not in fact a densely populated residential area anyway, so it is unclear why this particular stretch was chosen for extra  ‘protection’ from traffic. There is park all along one side, and the other side is largely taken up with offices (Great Michael House), plus a few detached houses, and only one block of tenement flats. Yet at the same time, the bus gate has actually made things far worse – not better – for nearby neighbours, by forcing traffic to reroute through the very densely residential area behind Links Place (Fox Street, Pattison Street, Elbe Street) with narrow streets, and for Salamander Place which has a large residential population in very large blocks of flats on both sides.
  • Closing Fox Street etc. to through traffic as well  – as has been threatened – would make things even worse, as then there would simply be no way for local people to get to where they are trying to go! Even thinking of closing off the Fox Street route is an admission of failure by the Leith Connections Team as they have to recognise that the closure of Links Place west bound is not working well.
  • There is already a serious issue in Leith of ‘lack of resilience’ in the face of unexpected events. For example, if road repairs, utility based road works, a fire or road accidents take place, there are simply not enough routes left open in Leith to let traffic bypass the trouble spot and find another route. This leads to great congestion and delays, extra emissions etc. Keeping Links Place open would help to reduce this problem if it occurs.
  • And finally  – There is no bus that ever goes along Links Place anyway (nor will they in future, because they can’t get round the corner at Constitution Street by the Police Station, where the pavement has been built out), so it makes no sense to reserve this stretch of roadway for buses.

Vital Consultations – please add your views

There are a number of consultations currently live on Council websites on issues that will impact all of our lives, in some cases quite profoundly. Please take some time to respond to these, before the deadline.

Leith Connections  – Low Traffic Neighbourhood
https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cycling-walking-projects-1/leith-connections/5
Email your views on the Experimental Traffic Order (eg. on the bus gate on Links Place) to Edinburgh.Consultation@projectcentre.co.uk
And/ or general views on the low traffic neighbourhood to leithconnections@edinburgh.gov.uk

Closes 8 April 2024

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Lindsay Road Bridge Regeneration https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/lindsay-road-bridge/

Closes 4 April 2024

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Edinburgh’s Public Libraries – future vision and strategy https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/cf/edinburgh-future-libraries/

Closes 19 April 2024

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There are several other consultations that you may find of relevance, please explore the full list here https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/consultation_finder/

 

Music Encounters on the Links, 16 March 2024

There will be some live music on the Links for all park users to enjoy, free of charge, on Saturday 16th March, as follows:

11-13:00 set-up

13:00-13:30 Firelight Trio – European music including Swedish polskas, Scottish reels, French waltzes, toe-tapping klezmer and dazzling original tunes. www.firelighttrio.co.uk

13:40-14:10 Ché Caré – One of Edinburgh’s finest Latin Trios and house band at Boteco Do Brasil playing timeless pop classics from all around the globe with a Latin core and jazz-rock twist. https://www.instagram.com/checaretrio/

14:20-15:00 Tom Oakes Duo/Trio – 2019 Scots Trad Awards ‘Musician of the Year’ nominee, Edinburgh-based Tom is regarded as one of the UK’s top Flautists and Multi instrumentalists. www.tomoakesmusic.com

15:00-16:00 take down

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