Stevedore Place: Victory in sight for local community as appeal for listed planning permission refused to Forth Ports in Leith

An appeal to the Scottish Government has failed after Forth Ports made alterations to a historic dock in Leith.

By Rachel Mackie
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 7:54 pm

In December, Forth Ports erected fencing panels along the side of the Albert Dock in Leith, replacing the original chains which acted as a barrier.

They said that this was in response to health and safety concerns after a child fell into the water in October 2020.

At the time of installing the new barriers, Forth Ports submitted its planning permission for the work to City of Edinburgh Council.

Picture taken Wednesday 30th of December 2020: Stevedore Place: Victory in sight for local community as appeal for listed planning permission refused to Forth Ports in Leith

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There was public outcry to the company proceeding with the work before permission had been granted.

Jennifer Marlborough, secretary at the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council, said at the time that the: “LHNCC is disappointed by the lack of engagement shown by Forth Ports and its approach to implementing these works.

"There has been no consultation with the local community, including Albert Dock residents, who are keen to discuss more appropriate solutions.”

Local residents and community groups all voiced concern that the changes would not be in keeping with the docks historic aesthetic.

This view was eventually also that of the council’s, as it refused Forth Ports’ planning application for the work in February, and asked it to restore the original chain barriers.

This decision was supported by the Scottish Government after Forth Ports appealed the council’s decision.

The Scottish Government’s decision was released on Thursday, May 27 and said that: “The appellant contends that the council has failed to properly consider health and safety matters in relation to the listed building consent.

"However, the council accepts the principle of an intervention to better control access from the footpath to the dock edge, but finds that the proposal diminishes the special architectural and historic interest of the listed structure to an unacceptable degree.”

A spokesperson for Forth Ports said: “We are clearly disappointed with the decision reached by the Reporter today.

"The measures we undertook at Stevedore Place were designed to be proportionate and to ensure that the areas near the quayside, where the public have access, are safe.

“We will now examine the Reporter’s findings in detail and consider the most appropriate course of action, recognising our responsibility and obligation to ensure the safety of all users, including children, in this area.”

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