Leith Walk campaigners to host ‘Objectathon’ in bid to boost opposition

The Save Leith Walk Campaign projected a message on to the council HQ.
The Save Leith Walk Campaign projected a message on to the council HQ.
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Leith Walk campaigners are hosting an “Objectathon” to encourage more residents to register opposition to a proposed £50 million development.

Almost 300 objections have already been lodged against the multi-use facility at Stead’s Place with Save Leith Walk now hoping to get ten times that figure in the coming weeks.

Protesters will be stationed at a number of local community venues across the weekend to aid members of the public making their comments online to Drum Property Group’s plans to demolish the existing buildings. This includes the historic two-storey red sandstone frontage which campaigners hope to save with it falling within a conservation area.

Proposals for the new development include a 523-bed student accommodation, 56-bedroom hotel, 53 affordable homes, a restaurant, café and retail units.

It comes after the Save Leith Walk group were left disappointed when its 12,159 signatures opposing the plans were not accepted by the planning committee at the City Chambers on Wednesday.

Campaigner Ian Hood said: “We have spoken to a lot of people who don’t go online so this way we get to make the commenting process fair for everyone.

“We will be helping people to submit their reasons for objecting to demolition and proposed development and hope to get more than 3,000 on the council website.

“This is an ambitious target but one we are determined to reach which would be similar to the level we achieved opposing the demolition of the Eastern General Hospital.

“This is a real community effort and it feels as though Leith is taking ownership of it. We plan to be very busy in the coming weeks and we hope to have many more people join our campaign. If we manage to stop the demolition it would be a huge achievement and we are doing all we can to make that happen.”

Members of Save Leith Walk will be in Out of the Blue (10am-3pm) as well as Leith Depot, Amati Deli and Leith Community Centre cafe (noon-3pm) on Saturday and at Tesco on Duke Street on Sunday (noon-3pm).

The campaign group has also been visible at various locations across the Capital sending out messages to key decision makers to the proposed development via a light projection at night.

Those include the offices of Drum on George Street, the operators of the 500-bed student flats and hotel Edinburgh University and the city council on Market Street.

Fellow campaigner Linda Somerville added said: “With over 12,000 people supporting our petition it is clear that the proposed demolition of a section of Leith Walk is unacceptable to the community.

“We highlighted key questions across targeted buildings about the lack of meaningful consultation with the developer, the undemocratic planning process and the lost opportunity for University of Edinburgh to make a positive contribution to Leith.

“By turning the spotlight on Drum Property Group offices, the council HQ and University of Edinburgh we ask them to support our community and local businesses to open the shops, stop the demolition and work with us to incorporate these buildings into any future development.”