Coronavirus precautions lead to cancellation of Community Council meeting on 30 March 2020

The next meeting of Leith Links Community Council, planned for Monday 30 March 2020, has been cancelled due to Coronavirus precautions.

The work of the Community Council continues utilising electronic tools such as email & zoom but it may be a number of months before we are able to hold our meetings in public.

The thoughts of all community councillors are with you at this difficult time.

Please keep yourself safe and up to date with rapidly changing advice.

Variation of Existing Premises Licence: 31 Duke Street

City of Edinburgh Council have made us aware that they are processing a license variation application relating 31 Duke Street, formerly known as The Dukes Head.

  • Reference:  429638
  • Applicant: Trust Inns Limited
  • Agent: John Gaunt & Partners
  • Premises:  31 Duke Street
  • License type: On & off sale
  • Last date for objections:  9 April 2020
  • Requested variation:  Commence sale of alcohol from 11:00 on Sundays; add bar meals as an activity; allow access for children.
  • Link to view licensing register entry:  Click here

If you wish to lodge an objection, submit comments or ask questions about the application you should email licensing@edinburgh.gov.uk by the deadline of 9 April 2020, you may also wish to copy us in by emailing licensing@leithlinkscc.org.uk.

Leith Links Play Park

City of Edinburgh Parks Department confirmed yesterday that after discussion with the contractors work on the new Leith Links Play Park will start during w/c 21st April.

This is great news for the area as we come into summer .

The contractors haven’t confirmed how long work will take but I would hope that it will be in use by June? Watch this space for further updates.

Seafield Update

During 2017 the local community continued to suffer noxious smells and it was clear that the reporting system set up by Edinburgh City Council was ineffective. Difficult to use and response times poor.

In 2018 the CC introduced a reporting tool for the community to quickly report nuisance smells when it became clear that system set up by Edinburgh City Council (COEC) was ineffective, difficult to use and resulted in poor response times.

The link the CC set up is easy to use and we know that our locally elected politicians and public servants are aware of reports. More importantly the public servants we expect and trust with policing our complaints can’t ignore public concerns.

Between 09/07/18 and 19/08/18 there were 123 reports.

Then 09/09/18 to 23/11/18 19 reports.

During the most recent incident between 15/02/19 to 18/03/19 we received 57 reports

Scottish Water issued an update on 15/02/19 alerting the community to urgent work being carried out at Seafield due to build up of sludge. This was followed by an apology issued by Scottish Water on 26/02/19.

SEPA told the community they only received 1 complaint passed to them from COEC and they were not aware that there had been so many.

SEPA said to Leith Links Residents Association

Thanks for your email. I am sorry to hear the community have been experiencing odours. I have logged your email as an environmental event. The event reference number is ENV/0897328 and I can provide the update below.

SEPA did not receive any complaints about the site during the month of February 2019. We received one complaint on Friday 1 March 2019. Two officers attended the site on Friday 1 March and undertook an odour assessment on site and at two offsite locations.

Offsite the officers detected a faint whiff of sewage odour from the site. This was not deemed to be offensive. The odour detected offsite matched the odour detected on-site near the picket fence thickeners, which are unrelated to the activities covered by the Waste Management Licence and located outwith the Waste Management Licence boundary. Our findings were passed to City of Edinburgh Council Environmental Health on Monday 4 March.

The City of Edinburgh Council said

We can advise that we received a total of 83 Seafield odour complaints in February 2019, with 77 of these received between 24 and 28 February. Officers carried out 14 visits to the area, between 24 and 28 February, as a result of these complaints. In addition, four proactive assessments within the community were also carried out during the month and a plant inspection was carried out on 26 February.

We can confirm that mostly no or faint odours and occasionally moderate odours were witnessed on the visits made to the community during February 2019, which would not amount to what you refer to as a smell nuisance.

So although we received 57 complaint reports COEC didn’t think there was a problem. There is a problem for the local residents who have taken the time to report it.

I estimate that for every report made through the CC website there are probably 10 households who don’t

During February the CC has also been contacted by local residents because of noise which appears to have started about the same time that the most recent smell incidents were being reported. Veolia had to bring in mobile centrifuges to deal with sludge levels.

Leith Links CC received the response below from the City Council investigating noise

I refer to your emails below concerning a miscellaneous noise, causing disturbance over a wide area around Seafield / Restalrig. I’m sorry you had not received a reply, however we do not appear to have received your original email. We have now logged your complaint on our system.

With regard to the noise, I have two ongoing complaints in the
Seafield / Prospect Band area and received another from a resident in the Restalrig area yesterday. However, so far it has not been possible to witness the noise being complained off. Seafield Sewage Treatment Works (STW) were also contacted last year, however their investigations did not identify any unusual noise issues from machinery. A noise survey visit to one of the residents had been scheduled for last night, but was cancelled due to the high wind speed; as it affects noise measurements. The noise survey has been re-scheduled for next week.

Information provided from the original two residents who had complained and the fact that another two complaints have been received suggests that the noise is becoming louder and more persistent. Therefore it should make it easier to investigate the noise and determine the source.

I’ll give you an update once I have carried out the noise survey visit next week.

The noise stopped before any further investigation could take place about the same time the work stopped at Seafield.

On a balance of probability these problems are linked to Seafield.

The infrastrucure at Seafield is old and it’s failing on a more regular basis to cope with excessive levels of sludge. 

I also believe that during the most recent incidents there was a crisis at the plant that Veolia were trying to fire fight. Both SEPA and COEC have let the community down again by not investigating incidents properly.

We still have this mistaken belief by public officials that their noses and ears are better than those of the community.

Urgent action and investment at that the plant must be the way forward.

We haven’t even reached the normal smelly season during May.

Leith Links Community Council will continue to work together with the Residents Association and I promise to raise the communities concerns strongly at the next Seafield Stakeholders meeting scheduled for 260419

Jim

Leith Links Community Workshop – Parklife project

Later this year the ParkLife project (a collaboration between City of Edinburgh Council and University of Edinburgh) is coming to Leith Links!

Everyone who uses or has an interest in Leith Links is welcome to attend this community workshop to find out more about the project & what it means for Leith Links. This is also an opportunity to feed into the work of the project moving forward.

The workshop is being held on Monday 1 April 2019 from 6pm in Leith Community Centrefollow this link to book your seat.

The ParkLife project is looking at how new uses of data and technology can help us understand how people use and value parks. The aim is to support the city and park partners to work together to improve parks to benefit everyone. The project includes the installation of a wifi enabled model which park users can engage with, should they wish to do so.

The workshop will give you an opportunity to share and develop your ideas about ways Leith Links can be improved and how technology might be able to help. During the workshop we will design several ‘prototypes’ that could be built and installed in Leith Links. These can be anything from a digital notice board that provides information about park activities to a system for timing yourself running a mile.

You don’t need to have prior understanding of technology in order to be able to join. You just need to be a person who cares about parks! Your views are important and will directly contribute to the project. Parks are diverse spaces and we would like to hear from as many people as possible.

 

Community Councils Together on Trams: Joint statement

Joint statement by Community Councils Together on Trams (CCTT) – a coalition of the four community councils that cover the areas most impacted by the route of the tram extension [which includes Leith Links Community Council].

In advance of Edinburgh Council’s imminent final decision to go ahead with the tram extension to Newhaven, which represents a major intervention in the areas covered by the four Community Councils along the route, CCTT has reviewed the information gathered from documents in the public domain and provided in monthly meetings with the Tram Project Team.

While we continue to support the broad principle and ambitious aims of the tram extension, a number of our concerns have yet to be fully addressed.

We recognise that a strong feeling exists among many people in our communities that this project is being pushed through with undue and unnecessary haste.

We remain sceptical about the absence of sufficiently robust progress or commitment over the following measures which are essential if the tram is to achieve its steep environmental mode-shifting targets and if the collateral damage of the inevitably disruptive construction period is to be reduced.

CCTT seeks firm commitment from Edinburgh Council, Transport Scotland and Transport for Edinburgh for the following project-critical measures:

  1. Fully Integrated Ticketing System (FITS): this is key to achieving a material modal shift from car to public transport (as opposed to the 87% modal shift from bus to tram, as projected in the tram business case)
  2. Staged construction sites, ie avoiding simultaneous closure of (a) Leith Walk, (b) Constitution Street to Bernard Street and (c) Melrose/Ocean Drive to Ocean Way; in parallel, CCTT seek bus priority route deviations with quality temporary bus stops: these two measures are key to minimising disruption to the daily lives of 75,000 residents and 1500 businesses
  3. Controlled Parking Zones along the tram corridor: this is key to preventing the tram corridor from turning into Edinburgh’s largest park and ride area.
  4. Constitution Street: construction of strengthened pavements and the introduction of a streamlined dual permit system for scaffolding, as well as further serious engagement with residents and businesses about the detail of the design for the street.
  5. Early and maximum clarity on the logistics intended to serve local businesses during construction to allow traders (along the tram corridor and – if necessary – along the diversion routes) to plan ahead and make appropriate arrangements that will allow them to survive the inevitable disruption during the construction period.

CCTT has been a valued partner of the Tram Project Team during the months leading up to this point in the process, contributing local knowledge and providing a critical sounding board.

If real progress can be achieved in relation to our key concerns and the above measures, we will stay involved and work constructively with the Tram Project Team during the Early Contractor Involvement and construction periods.

 

 

Suggestions sought on possible new locations for Just Eat Cycles hire points

In 2018 the Edinburgh Cycle Hire Scheme (operated by Serco under contract to Transport for Edinburgh) introduced a hire point in Leith Links, sadly this had to be removed following serious damage.

Leith Links Community Council will be considering other suitable locations at our next meeting on Monday 25 March 2019 (18:30 in Leith Community Centre), with a view to submitting a request or requests, and is keen to hear your suggestions.

Below is a map of our area (the area within the red boundary line), if you can think of a suitable location please let us know and tell us why you think it would be suitable.

We’ll circulate a list of the suggestions in due course.

  • If you find an abandoned bike you can report to Serco by email, telephoning 0131 278 3000 or Twitter so that they can consider collecting it.

 

update 30/3/19: We have removed the suggestion form and considered the suggestions at our meeting on 25 March 2019, please view our minutes of this meeting when they are published on this website for further updates

 

Leith Community Centre celebrates fiftieth anniversary

On Sunday 10 March 2019 Leith Community Centre (which can be found at the Newkirkgate Shopping Centre) celebrates fifty years since it was officially opened on Monday 10 March 1969.

Leith Links Community Council holds its regular monthly meetings, and many of its occasional meetings in the Centre as does Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and many other local groups.

A day of celebration is being held to mark the occasion and members of the Leith community are encouraged to attend.

The afternoon begins with a number of free taster sessions, followed by two parties (tickets are free but should be booked).

For more information, or to book a ticket you can pop into the Community Centre office or visit their website.

Clean up planned for Restalrig Railway Path

A spring clean of Restalrig Railway Path is being held on Saturday 2 March 2019 from 12:30 until 14:30. Those interested in taking part should meet at the opening of the walkway at the Restalrig Road bridge, with litter pickers & gloves being provided.

The group plan on focusing on the area between the meeting point and Leith Academy.

Local Facebook group ‘Restalrig Road + Railway Path’ often promote such clean ups, with a Facebook event created for this specific clean up.

A number of Leith Links Community Councillors have participated in previous clean up events on the railway path and are likely to be at this one too. This is a really easy way for people to help improve their community and we would encourage as many people as possible to take part.

Seafield Burning Smell

After the Community Council was contacted by local residents about a burning smell coming from Seafield I contacted Scottish Water and received the following response.

“Veolia have confirmed that at around 18:00 on Sunday, a blockage was detected within part of the sludge treatment process.  This unexpected issue meant that one stream within the process had to be taken offline so that the problem could be quickly resolved.  A short controlled release of air from the thermal hydrolysis plant was required so that personnel could safely gain access to carry out the repair.  This release of air lasted for around 30 minutes.  This early intervention to fix the issue minimised the impact on operations and any longer term potential impact on the community.

This short release of air briefly caused an odour that was detected in localised areas within the community.  Veolia apologise for the impact this had on the local community but would like to reassure you that this is not a routine event, and that there were no other equipment problems at the time, including the siloxane filter. 

In assessing and responding to the query, Veolia have been undertaking spot checks out in the community at various times today and feel that the issue described above has been addressed.”

Veolia and Scottish Water want to be good neighbours so I’ve asked them to review their communication system with the public. As Scottish Water have said the incident was unexpected and dealt with quickly but  they have to keep the public informed.

Both Scottish Water and Veolia who operate the plant have websites to make the public aware and I have also suggested they contact me so that the CC can post on this site to make the locals who suffer the most aware of what’s going on.

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