From royal yacht to depravity chic: Why Leith is sleeping tourism giant – John McLellan

The city centre business organisation Essential Edinburgh is reporting that footfall across the city in the week ending June 16 has increased five per cent compared to 2018, with the city centre as a whole up 6.2 per cent.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 7:00 am
Leith's picture postcard Shore is comparable with Copenhagen. Picture: Ian Georgeson

This is possibly driven by visitors taking advantage of a weak pound but whatever the reason this summer could be busier than ever.

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group is warning about a growing backlash from residents against tourism, overcrowding in hotpsots like Princes Street and the High Street and calls for ”concerted action” to spread visitors further afield.

The sleeping giant for Edinburgh tourism is Leith, with a history every bit as rich as the Old Town, a restaurant scene better than anything outside London, a maze of mysterious Medieval streets, a picture-postcard Shore with echoes of Copenhagen, the Royal Yacht and all brought up to date with Trainspotting depravity-chic.

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The tram line might be designed to link new housing with employment opportunities, but beyond rush hour hundreds of visitors will head to Leith because the new service, whenever it is built, will make it easy. Whether it relieves pressure on the Old and New Towns remains to be seen, but it could increase tensions in Leith in unpredictable ways.

The issue is not whether the potential can be realised, but whether Leith is ready for it, because judging by the protests against the Stead’s Place development resistance to so-called “gentrification” is as strong as ever.

Meadowbank stadium site plan now includes seven-storey block

The team behind the housing plans for the Meadowbank stadium site around the new sports centre have been taking their masterplan out into the community, with an open air event outside Meadowbank Church last Saturday the first.

The removal of student flats will probably be welcome, as will the care taken to avoid overlooking at Marionville, but the need to meet the cost of the new sports centre still means maximising the number of homes.

The result of lowering density in some parts of the site is increasing it in others, so the plan is for blocks as high as seven storeys along London Road, taller than the recently approved student flats block right across the road, which is bound to concern people living across from the site on Meadowbank Terrace. The detailed planning application is due in August.

Adam McVey’s aborted Canada flight plan

Back to the City Chambers with tails between their legs, Council leader Adam McVey and Resources Director Stephen Moir were turned away from their flight to Canada for a Smart Cities conference because they didn’t have the correct travel documents.

But Cllr McVey claims to be relieved because he was able to spend three days on constituency work rather than being stuck on a plane, but then why agree to go in the first place? Or perhaps we should take that with a glug of maple syrup.

The Edinburgh primary school kids who are now published authors

Many congratulations to the P6 and P7 pupils at Craigentinny, Lorne, Hermitage Park and Leith primary schools whose impressive 156 stories make up a 360-page anthology titled Seven Spaceships just published by the Superpower Agency, a charity working to improve literacy among young Edinburgh people.

The stories are their take on the discovery of a new planet called Alba Prime and the young authors display a wonderful breadth of imagination and an engaging window on their hopes for their futures. And they can all claim to be professionally published writers before the age of 12.