The design proposals for the Leith Links Seaward Extension (LLSE – OS7) have been released for consultation by the City of Edinburgh Council this week and Greener Leith is encouraging everyone to have a look and make a comment. You’ll be pleased to know that it is a relatively small file to download (1.7MB), and that is not particularly lengthy or technical.
To help with this we thought we should explain some more about the proposals. First of all, we should make it clear that this is a ‘Design Study’, which aims to set out how the proposed Leith Links Seaward Extension (OS7) will be structured and how it will relate to other land uses. More detailed landscape designs will follow for different parts of the extension as it is implemented. It is estimated this could take as long as 20-30 years to complete.
The Design Study is not a planning application, nor is it supplementary planning guidance. As we understand things, this means that it will not be legally binding on anyone. However, it will inform the development of the seaward extension, and on this basis it is worth commenting on.
We should also point out that there are ‘unofficial’ alternative proposals for extending Leith Links, although these are currently unavailable on-line. These alternative proposals suggest extending Leith Links into the area currently earmarked for light industrial/commercial uses between the Eastern boundary of the LLSE OS7 proposal and the Seafield sewerage works further east.
The alternative proposals are officially outwith the scope of this consultation, as they would require a considerable change to the recently adopted Edinburgh City Local Plan. We understand from the planning officers involved that there is now little scope to modify the local plan (and consequently the current Leith Links Extension OS7) until it is next up for consideration. Work to develop the next Edinburgh City Local Plan will not begin until 2012 at the earliest.
This said, Greener Leith has already voiced concerns that the Leith Docks Outline Planning Applciation does not contain a suitable amount of new Green Space, particularly with regard to sports facilities. If the planning committee do not act to remedy this deficit, then Greener Leith hopes that the Scottish Government will ‘call in’ the Leith Docks Outline Planning Application for a rethink.
If you’re finding it hard work understand the planning process and how it relates to the Leith Links Seaward Extension proposals (we certainly feel like we’re on a steep learning curve!) then you can attend a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday the 13th of May, at St Mary’s Primary School, Links Gardens between 7pm and 8pm. Planning Officers will be there to answer any questions about the LLSE-OS7 design study proposals.
If you can’t make this meeting, you can submit your comments, in writing, to:
Noami Sandilands, City Development, G:1, 4, East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG by 9th June 2008. Alternatively you can email [email protected]
Greener Leith will submit the response below to the Design Study consultation. If you aggree with us, you are welcome to use these points as an inspiration for your own letter.
1. Greener Leith is concerned that the OS7 Leith Links Seaward Extension, when considered in combination with other existing and proposed green spaces in the area, does not provide enough publicly accessible, free sports facilities. Greater thought needs to be put into this in order to meet the likely demand. Will one extra football pitch be sufficient to cope with demand from all the new residential development in Leith Docks?
2. Greener Leith questions whether more thought to the distribution of land uses may be required. Is it more appropriate to move the area designated for sports further away from the coast, and closer to the existing links, using the space currently allocated for ‘community facilites and civic space,’ and/or ‘passive recreation and community education.’ This would ensure that the sports areas are at least sheltered somewhat from the sea winds, by the orchard, allotments and surrounding buildings. In turn, this would allow space for more informal uses closer to the coast, where a larger number of people may wish to gather on days when the weather is conducive to sunbathing, and taking in the view across the Forth. Careful landscaping may be required to mitigate against the potential for the whole extension to turn into a ‘wind tunnel’ when the wind is from the North.
3. Greener Leith is concerned that the proposed land uses adjacent to the Seaward Extension proposals often present ‘passive’ frontages on the eastern edge. In addition, there is little natural surveillance from the eastern side of the extension – a greater proportion of residential land uses on both sides of the extension would provide this. As things stand, the pathways through the proposed new allotment sites, and most of the eastern edge of the new park have the potential to become frightening places in the evening. If the allotments were sited along this eastern edge, with no publc pathway through them, this may help to ‘design out’ potential anti-social behavior.
4. Greener Leith is disappointed that the LLSE OS7 extension proposals have such a negative impact on the existing Leith Links allotment site. This site is much valued by the plot holders, and the association has done a good job in recent years to reach out and work with the wider community in Leith. Furthermore, this site has been in existence for many years. It is unfortunate that greater weight was not placed on preserving this site, when the initial proposals for a Leith Links extension were first mooted. It is also unfortunate that there is potential for some allotment holders to have to move not once, but twice as this project develops.
5. Greener Leith is pleased that the number of allotment plots is set to increase, and that the proposals give a commitment to ensure that the soil they are situated in is treated to mitigate against any residual industrial contaminants. Greener Leith also welcomes the proposals for an orchard, and would hope that this could be an opportunity to expand the newly established Edinburgh Childrens Orchard project into Leith.
6. Greener Leith also notes that the creation of significant cycle route will eventually have an impact on the existing Leith Links and therefore extra investment, and careful design, will be required in the park to cope with this increased through flow of cyclists.