Leith Walk Cafe owners vow to be ‘fly in the ointment’ for developer as doors close
FOR more than 60 years, it has served generations of Leithers with hearty, homemade fare.
But now, the Leith Walk Cafe has been forced to close its doors in the wake of plans by property developer Drum to turn the site into student accommodation.
The historic cafe, which opened in 1959, is one of many businesses driven out of Stead’s Place by the property group, despite initial plans for student housing being unanimously rejected by city planning chiefs.
However, defiant owner Charlotte Lloyd has vowed to fight on as a “fly in the ointment for Drum” as they continue the campaign against the £50 million development.
She told the Evening News: “We need to keep our name and their name next to each other.
“They’re a multimillion property company and we are a small independent cafe of four who they refuse to speak to. I mean who are the adults here?
“It gave us comfort to be able to achieve something by putting pressure on Drum throughout this process and raise awareness for the cause.”
Charlotte will be opening a new cafe over the summer in Newhaven where she hopes to offer a safe haven for Leith’s most vulnerable citizens. She added: “It is not going to be the same at a new place however it is a new chapter. We need to keep our name and their name next to each other to make sure people know what has happened.”
Council bosses rejected Drum’s plans – first submitted in August 2018 – on the grounds that it did not meet planning regulations.
A spokesperson for the Save Leith Walk campaign, said: “This unnecessary eviction ends the cafe’s 60 years of trading and serving generations of Leithers. We share the anger and disappointment felt in our community over this closure.
“We are also heartened by the continued support shown to threatened local businesses.
“We believe there is a future for this building and remain committed to our aim to Save Leith Walk.”
A spokesperson for Drum said: “From the start, Drum has been entirely straightforward, transparent and consistent regarding our plans for the site.”