What future for the Leith Waterfront?

Leith ADF Diagram

The City of Edinburgh Council is to launch a final phase of consultation on the Draft Waterfront Area Development Framework on Valentines Day. Perhaps this is not a coincidence given that one of the key aims of the consultation is to identify the ‘hearts’ of the neighbourhood – with a view to ensuring that this document will help to protect them and enhance them.

The diagam above summarises the ‘new thinking’ on how regeneration and development should be managed in Leith. It’s based on ‘six broad principles’ that are represented by the numbers and the different coloured shaded bits on the map. Here’s what the numbers mean:

1. Is the idea that the plans should promote the development of a “Great City Street” along the waterfront, linking Leith, Newhaven and Granton.

2. Is a ‘consolidated node.’ In everyday parlance, the planners intend to develop this area as a high-density mixed-use area, that reflects the character of much of the older parts of Leith.

3. This is a ‘transport node.’ This is where they see all the traffic into and out of the port of Leith running, as well as a tram stop.

4. “The area between Salamander Street and the port could develop as a high value employment zone, with bulky adaptable architectural forms resonating with the old commercial buildings along Commercial Street.”

5. ‘Heart of Leith’- Commercial Street, Great Junction Street, Leith Walk and The Shore, together with the area around Ocean Terminal form an urban district.

6. This area is described “as a coarse grained, flexible grid… to support land uses associated with the port and the green economy.”

You can downloand the whole draft document here:


Folk from Greener Leith took part in two of the workshops that helped to inform these plans. You can read our earlier blog post on the first one here, where we helped lot’s of people to submit their ideas using Twitter. The post also gives some background on the process.


The council have produced a summary report of the outcome of the Charettes too. You can download that here:


Lastly, there’s a few key questions that the planners are keen for people to answer. They are:

  • Are the ‘hearts’ identified across the area are in the right place?
  • What are your thoughts on the concept of a ‘ Great City Street ‘?
  • Are the identified links in the Framework the right links?
  • What projects for action should be included in the Framework?
  • Are the priorities identified for the Waterfront and Leith (on page 24) the right ones?

The public have until Monday March the 28th to submit comments. More information on how you can do that is available here:


  • Emily Dodd

    Ally, interesting article. Any chance you could superimpose the streets over -I know it's described in the blog but trying to visualise in space. My Mac won't let me download the plans either? (: