Publican hoping for floating pub approval on Water of Leith

Calum Mackay landlord of Malt & Hops at The Shore who is planning on building a pontoon on the Water of Leith outside the bar for outside drinking. Picture; Greg Macvean
Calum Mackay landlord of Malt & Hops at The Shore who is planning on building a pontoon on the Water of Leith outside the bar for outside drinking. Picture; Greg Macvean
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Leith could be home to a floating pub if councillors approve plans for a continental-style bar on the water’s edge.

A local publican hopes to install a pontoon bar opposite the existing Malt & Hops pub to make use of the “fantastic setting”.

The application proposes a self-sufficient bar to form a large outside seating area atop a raft on the Water of Leith, accessed via a gangway.

However objections from the Friends of the Water of Leith Basin, The Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council and the Residents for the Cooperage complex claim the proposed floating platform will have a detrimental impact on the local conservation area.

A spokesman from the Friends of the Water of Leith Basin said: “It will be damaging to the environment due to increased noise, accumulation of rubbish and potential for pollution.

“Our group is passionate about preserving the unique heritage and enhancing this conservation area and consider that this floating platform would be completely inappropriate.

“This opens the door to more floating platforms stretching along the Shore and further eroding the Conservation Area Status.”

Concerns were also raised about the impact on wildlife in the area.

However council planners stated in a report ahead of the committee tomorrow that in the commercial heart of old Leith the outside seating area would not have a significant impact on wildlife and because of the small scale of the development, in relation to the scale of the conservation area as a whole, would also cause no 
significant impact on the wildlife habitat, nor specifically upon nesting birds.

And Malt & Hops proprietor and local resident Calum Mackay said the pontoon will improve the amenity in the area.

“As a resident of the Shore for 25 years I have seen a lot of improvements but this phase heralds a coming of age for the local businesses,” he said. “Certainly as a local publican and businessman I understand the need, but as a resident I’d simply love a place to relax with a fine real ale in the sunshine.”

He has also undertaken work with the city council to improve the water quality in the immediate vicinity to help improve aesthetics in the area.

“As a long-established business on the Shore we are always very busy when it is sunny. The sunshine transforms the area. It would be great to give people somewhere to relax in the sunshine on this continental-style floating bar. Leith is currently a magnet to creative industries and this proposal helps develop the reinvigoration of what is becoming one of the hippest places in Europe.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk