A fence has been erected across the windows at the Boots branch in the Kirkgate in an attempt to ‘engineer’ out Anti-social behaviour in the Leith shopping area.
According to a report in the Evening News the firm erected the fence after the Police advised them that it might be a good way of reducing reports of “intimidating” behaviour by groups of people in the area – some of whom chose to sit on the windowsill of the shop.
Whether the move will make any difference at all remains to be seen. This weekend groups of people were to be seen sitting on the benches apparently partaking of an alfresco cider, just metres away from the altered Boots shop front.
In the community-led Vision for Leith Walk consultation Greener Leith helped to run earlier in the year, the need to “Do something about the drinkers and drug users in the Kirkgate” was the second highest priority identifed through the process.
The proposal also attracted several comments – with some locals keen to point out that it is not illegal to sit on benches, congregate in public or drink on the street in Edinburgh.
And earlier in the week Ian Buchanan, the Neighbourhood Manager told a local residents meeting that: “the perception of Leith as a high crime area is just a perception.”
Roland Reid, secretary of Leith Central Community Council, told the Evening News: “What Boots has done may simply move the problem elsewhere.
“The Kirkgate has a particular problem with this sort of thing and addressing it will be quite a challenge. The community council did a survey of problems that affect people in Leith and that came out as one of them.
“There has even been doubts about whether the seating should be there, but I suppose if it is taken away it might be unfair for everybody else.
“Leith has to support a disproportionate number of vulnerable people from Edinburgh and the Lothians, and we are home to quite a number of hostels.
“It may be that as part of the Leith Walk improvement plan there should be a focus on the Kirkgate and how we can make it more attractive to people.”
Do you think the fence will reduce Anti-Social Behaviour in the Kirkgate? Or do you think it will reinforce the perception that some people hold that the area is a high crime area?