Leaked: Future of Leith Docks all at sea

Leith docks and gulls on the ice

It may feel like the regeneration of Leith has been frozen in time, ever since the financial crash.

This week there has been a flurry of announcements about Leith Docks. We’ll provide the simplified version here: 

  1. The Leith Biomass plant planning application is unlikely to be considered by the City of Edinburgh Council until June 2012 at the earliest
  2. As we predicted, councillors have decided not to spend £84million pounds on infrastructure improvements in the docks area until there is clarity about “plan B” for the docks.
  3. Alex Salmond announced in the Scottish Parliament that Scottish Enterprise will be funding detailed studies into what could amount to that “Plan B.” The first tender for a new docks masterplan is worth £400,000-£500,000 with more public cash to come. As yet, no wind turbine manufacturer has confirmed they want to invest in Leith.
  4. The Scottish Government says that they will spend a £100million+ windfall from Westminster on developing “renewables infrastructure,” and the Scotsman reckons that a good chunk of this may end up being spent on port infrastructure at Leith.
  5. And in more exciting, albeit slightly unrelated news, Leith docks based wave energy machine manufacturer, Pelamis, delivered one of their giant red snake things from Leith to Orkney, and learned that they’ve been short listed in the Scottish Green Energy Awards. 

This matters, because there’s an important planning consultation going on that could shape the future of Leith Docks for many years to come. We’d encourage as many local residents to try to digest some of this information and take part in the Local Development Plan consultation. 

If you can feel yourself ageing at the very thought of it, a civic minded councillor helpfully leaked this briefing to Greener Leith today. It was produced by senior planners for local councillors. But there’s no reason why councillors should keep this stuff to themselves is there? Here’s the official position at the moment:

Leith Docks Briefing Note to Elected Members(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })(); 

Basically Leithers, there seems to be two choices on offer. Potentially lot’s of industry and no business case for a tram. Or some industry, some houses, and maybe a tram at some point.

The former option seems to be being pursued by the Scottish Government and Forth Ports. The latter seems to be the favoured option by planners in the City Council.

And in both cases, neither the Scottish Government, or the council, would appear comfortable backing the giant Biomass plant that Forth Ports would still like to build. 

If you put in a submission to the Local Development Plan consultation, please do share your response with us. Greener Leith will publish a response in due course. 

You have plenty of time to ruminate on this. In fact you can do it over the entire festive period.

If you want to speak to a council planner to explain things in more detail, then there will be some sort of stall at Ocean Terminal on the 7th of January, 11am-3pm.

This post was updated on the 12th of November, with new information about the Scottish Enterprise tender, and details of the Scottish Government announcement of more money for renewable infrastructure.

Written by Ally Tibbitt

Ally Tibbitt is a member of Greener Leith. He looks after this website.