SEVEN miles of Leith streets are to be stripped of posters, graffiti and rubbish as part of a major community clear-up beginning later this week.
Shipshape Leith will run for three weeks and attempt to transform an area which residents say has been badly neglected in recent years.
Police officers, council staff and offenders on community payback schemes are among those already signed up and are urging the public to join them when the clean-up gets under way this Friday.
It will see items such as graffiti, stickers, posters and cable ties being removed from bins, lamp posts, signs, bus stops, post boxes and telephone boxes.
Trishna Singh, 59, director of the charity Sikh Sanjog, which runs the Punjab’n De Rasoi – Pubjabi Women’s Kitchen – on Leith Walk, is among those taking part. She said improving on the area’s run-down appearance would help to curb anti-social behaviour and set a good example to residents and traders.
Ms Singh said: “It’s the first time we’ve been involved in this kind of thing but with so many bins lying on the pavements and trade waste on the streets we felt the need to do something about it. My family has lived in Leith all our lives and there is a great community feel but you come down Leith Walk and all you see is buckets taking up the pavement. Then you get anti-social behaviour partly as a result of it being run down.
The streets being targeted are: Leith Walk, Easter Road, Bonnington Road, Broughton Street, Duke Street, Newhaven Place to Salamander Street, North Junction Street, Great Junction Street and Constitution Street. The scheme runs over the course of three weeks with Friday expected to be the main day for members of the public to join in.
Sergeant Gordon Duff, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: “This initiative is a fantastic example of just some of the joint working that is being undertaken around the Kirkgate and Great Junction Street areas of Leith.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader whose staff will take part in the scheme, added: “The community spirit on display in Leith shows what can be achieved when everyone comes together.”
Those intending to take part in the Shipshape Leith Volunteer Day in Constitution Street should meet at the Kirkgate Victoria Monument at 9.30am on Friday.