Edinburgh women voice concerns about safety while crossing Leith Links at night

Women in Leith have expressed concern for their safety when crossing Leith Links at night, with some saying lighting in the park is insufficient.

By Neil Johnstone
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 1:33 pm

Ongoing tram works at Commercial Street have meant no buses travel across the north side of the Links, forcing locals to cross the vast space to reach bus stops on Hermitage Place.

Although LED lighting is installed along central pathways through the Links, other routes situated near bus stops remain dark, leaving many women in the area feeling unsafe.

Meg Collins, who has lived in the area for the last six months explained she often feels nervous when crossing the park.

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Other paths are lit throughout the length of the Links

She said: “I’ll call my partner, and I’ll stay on the phone to him not necessarily talking much.”

Life long resident, Marion, who only gave her first name, said she avoids passing through the park at night, stating: “It could do with being a bit lighter just to make you feel a bit safer at night time.

“You just don’t know who’s walking behind you. If it was lighter you would have a much better gauge of what was going on around you. We usually just keep to the edges rather than crossing the Links.”

Another female resident of Sailmaker Road said: “The Links isn’t very well lit. There’s lots of little pathways, so I find I’ll get off the bus about four stops later because that’s where the well lit path is.”

New developments have see hundreds of new residents arrive to the area

In the two years since buses travelling along Links Place and Links Gardens were diverted or discontinued, several new developments have been built, bringing in hundreds of new residents and increased the demand for public transport in the area.

One Ropemaker Street resident said: “Obviously losing the number 12 bus, it’s not a short walk to get to work anymore. I’ve got to go through the Links and at night it’s really dark and I do feel quite unsafe walking down there myself.

“I’ve been doing that for quite a while now and every single time I’m worried.

“Even when it wasn’t as populated here, the number 12 was always busy. I think it would be an even busier bus if it was to come back.”

Daylight shows the distance across the main pathway at the Links

The City of Edinburgh Council have allocated £450,000 out of this year’s budget to improving green space facilities and lighting, but how this money is distributed is still unknown.

A council spokesperson said: “We have ensured there are accessible, lit routes to allow people to cross the park safely. We’re also working closely with Leith Links Community Council to develop a park masterplan for Leith Links."

They added that LED lights in the park provide: “Crisp, white light which is better distributed and makes things stand out more clearly than the old sodium ones.”

Speaking at a recent community council meeting, Ben Ritchie of Lothian Buses said: “As far as Lothian buses are concerned, we would like to get back onto Leith Links sooner rather than later.”

Dark pathways are making some residents to feel unsafe.

He added: “Realistically, we’re looking late this year or spring next year at the very latest.”

A spokesperson from Lothian Buses added: “All current and future bus network plans in this area will take into consideration various factors including ongoing works and customer demand.”

Some residents would like to see more lighting at Leith Links