Edinburgh Council “refuses” 12,000-strong Leith Walk petition

Save Leith Walk Protest at Edinburgh City Chambers
Save Leith Walk Protest at Edinburgh City Chambers
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Save Leith Walk has vowed to push on with its campaign despite the city council “refusing” to accept its 12,000-strong petition.

More than 100 passionate protesters had hoped to hand in 12,159 signatures on Wednesday to the planning committee who will be making the final decision on the plans by Drum Property Group.

Campaigners want to preserve the sandstone frontage on Leith Walk which will be bulldozered if the recently submitted planning application is granted.

The developer wants to build a facility incorporating a 500-bed student accommodation, 56-bedroom hotel, 53 affordable homes, a restaurant, café and retail units.

Campaigner Ian Hood said: “I was stunned when they refused to take our petition.

“It was a slap in the face for all those who want save what is important in our community and to see it develop in line with the wishes of local people.

“Meanwhile, don’t get angry, get even. We want to encourage thousands of objections to Drum’s proposals and the demolition be submitted to the planning department.

“The proposed development is too high, too much and in the wrong place. We feel there are other options available.

“We will push on and try and get someone in the council to accept our petition.”

High profile names such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and The Proclaimers have backed the campaign as well as cross-party support from local politicians.

One half of The Proclaimers, Craig Reid, told the Evening News: “To me everywhere you go now sites are being filled with student flats. This is the case in many places.

“I’m not against development or progress but when every site is being used to develop student flats it is putting the area in danger of spoiling the character of the area and quality of life for residents. It clearly means so much to the people of Leith and surely their feelings have got to count for something?

“I think it is sad that the development is being done for money rather than the people who live there.”

The land was purchased by Drum last year with the city council earmarking the site for development since 2008.

A total of 294 public comments have been registered in connection to the application – 98 per cent of those objecting to the construction. A council spokesperson said that it was not possible for the planning committee to accept the petition and said there was a formal procedure to handing in their objections.

They added: “We are always keen to engage with our residents and hear their views. There are a number of ways of doing this including individuals or groups submitting a petition.

“If a petition meets the criteria, it will be submitted to the relevant committee for councillors to consider.

“For anyone who would like to make their views known on a planning application, we would encourage you to make a comment on the relevant planning issues online.”