Leith 'green oasis' threatened by tram extension is saved after community campaign

Discovery Gardens was under threat from the tram extensionDiscovery Gardens was under threat from the tram extension
Discovery Gardens was under threat from the tram extension
A green “oasis” in Leith which was threatened by the tram extension has been saved after a community campaign.

The Discovery Gardens, next to Ocean Terminal, were planted when the shopping centre was built in 2001. It was designed in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Garden, and features plants representing the discoveries of the founding fathers of Scottish botany.

But plans submitted for the Trams to Newhaven project showed the area being replaced with paving and some new trees.

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The gardens had offered a welcome respite during lockdown for residents without a garden of their own and Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council launched a campaign to save them.

Now the city council has announced the designs are to be altered and Discovery Gardens will be retained after the project team met community representatives and Ambassador, the new owners of Ocean Terminal.

Community council secretary Jennifer Marlborough said they were “pleased and relieved” to the gardens would be retained.

"We have worked hard, alongside local residents and users of the gardens, to ensure that the cultural and environmental value of this small park is not lost in the midst of development. This is particularly important in an area already largely devoid of green and community spaces”

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She thanked Trees of Edinburgh, #SOS Leith and the local community for their help in the campaign.

Trees of Edinburgh called it “a great result for everyone”.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “We know how strongly the community feels about this local greenspace, so I’m delighted that Ambassador and our Trams to Newhaven team have been able to secure its future as part of the site’s redevelopment.

“Once complete this scheme will deliver a great many benefits to Leith, offering quality, sustainable transport, unlocking the area for housing and economic development. We want everyone to share in this, while retaining the local features that residents know and love, so I’m pleased we’ve reached a solution.”

Chris Richardson, managing director of Ambassador Investments, said: “Ambassador, the owners of Ocean Terminal, were in agreement with the community council and local community that, where possible, elements of the Discovery Gardens should remain within the constraints placed on Ocean Terminal due to the tram requirements. We are pleased the revised designs have been amended which delivers a positive outcome for all parties involved.”

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