Edinburgh campaigners stage Halloween protest against 'spooky' Leith Links

An Edinburgh organisation says ‘insufficient lighting’ is leaving local residents spooked in Leith Links

An Edinburgh tenant’s union will stage a Halloween-themed protest this Sunday in a bid to pressure the City of Edinburgh Council to improve lighting facilities on Leith Links. Living Rent’s Leith branch will host the demonstration at 4.30pm at the Vanburgh Place entrance to the green space, near the bottom of Easter Road. Union members will dress in guising costumes to campaign for additional lighting at the park.

A spokesperson for Living Rent said: “Insufficient lighting in Leith Links means that large parts of the park are practically inaccessible during much of the winter months for many people, particularly those with mobility issues. We ask that the City of Edinburgh Council makes Leith Links a safer, more accessible and inclusive public space, by introducing new lighting on the sections of pathway that have been neglected.”

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The protest comes after union members voted in June to make lighting on Leith Links a flagship issue, and have since conducted outreach work in recent months to gather the concerns and views from the local community regarding lighting at the park. The local organisation has also launched a public petition in favour of additional lighting which has seen more than 270 signatures so far. Living Rent members say they have drafted a lighting plan which they will submit to the council in the coming weeks.

Living Rent say local residents would like to see additional lighting at Leith Links.

Councillors from Leith and Leith Walk ward have been invited to attend Sunday’s event as well as local residents and their families in the hope of stimulating dialogue and addressing concerns by some in the community. Residents who attend are welcome to dress up in guising costumes and there will also be a lantern making session for children at the Halloween-themed event.

A Living Rent spokesperson said they are hoping to get as many councillors there as possible “so that we can have them there, show them in person what the issue is, have them talk to the local residents and hopefully from that we can get a relatively quick response.” Several main pathways at the popular green space have LED lighting installed that the council says distributes light effectively, allowing residents to cross the park safely.

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But Living Rent members say that feedback from the local community demonstrates that many would like to see all pathways lit to make people feel safer at night and are they are now urging the council to provide additional lighting as part of their 10-year Leith Links Masterplan.

Val Walker, culture and communities convener, who will attend the event on Sunday said that she recognises the community’s concerns and the need for the park to be safe and accessible for all users.

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90 LED lights have been installed across all central pathways at Leith Links but some residents say this is insufficient.

Councillor Walker said: “We’ve been working closely with residents and groups as part of the development of a park masterplan for Leith Links and I will be going to Leith Links when it’s dark to check that it is safe.

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“Our Parks and Greenspace team work alongside the Street Lighting team when considering installation and maintenance of lighting within public parks and in Leith Links we have ensured there are accessible, lit routes to allow people to cross the park safely."

The culture and communities convener added: “We also have to ensure that we consider biodiversity and the history of the site.”