The History of Leith

March 17, 2005

Is this the end of Leith

In the Times (See article below) it mentions Housebuilders are already busy in Leiths Western Harbour. Right next to Adams forthcoming scheme, high-rise apartments by Bryant Homes, FM Developments and Gregor Shore are selling for between £190,000 for a two-bed flat and £700,000. That will be the ball park range of prices for housing in the new development. how many Leithers could afford that? The implication of the above is the housebuyers will not be Leithers already living here but people moving in from outwith of Leith or even Edinburgh with no connection to the area.

This has got me concerned as every Leith Historian from Maitland in the 18th century to Dr Marshall have all said and if I may include myself in this august company have said that Edinburgh has milked leith for what it could get. Today they dont only want to milk Leith they want to marry the old dear and have a complete name change!!! At this rate in the next fifty years Leith will become like the lost continent of Atlantis or Camelot and the only place to find it is on a old map in the Map Room of the National Library. The point being the development will have a population larger then Old Leith and larger towns have a habit of absorbing smaller towns and they are concerned about the future of Leith, Granton and Newhaven. What a joke!! When the rich person addresses a letter from his 700,000 pound penthouse will he put on it Leith, Edinburgh or will it be Forthside,Edinburgh I wonder!

I have mentioned in the past about the roads and traffic problems until I am blue in the face but nobody seems to listen and then when asked about a communal space for the worshipping communities they said this could be integrated into one of the cultural areas”. What a insult!! So the church is going to be pushed into a pokey little corner. What a joke!! Then to say there is to be Social Houseing I guess there will be pushed into a corner of the development out of sight and out of mind. The developers are not interested in Social Housing as they lose money on it and we cant allow that to happen now can we!!

Who knows it might be time to man the barricades!!!

If you think that the Leith Docks Development should retain its name and promoted as Leith. Please let me know this is important. Let me know your views!!

Please see the articles below from the Scotsman andTimes on Line

Scotsman-4th March

Say hello to Edinburgh Forthside


EDINBURGH Forthside will be the new identity for the redevelopment of the waterfront in Scotlands capital – a name that was immediately denounced as unimaginative”.

The title brings together developments at Granton Harbour, Western Harbour and Port of Leith, covering 450 acres and 24,000 new homes.

Until now the £5 billion regeneration has not had a coherent identity. The new name, launched yesterday by Forth Ports, will serve as an umbrella brand to unite the three developments, which stretch along two miles of the citys shoreline.

Charles Hammond, Forth Ports chief executive, said: A city of world heritage status needs a waterfront which reinforces its position as a major European capital.

That is the concept behind Edinburgh Forthside: to complete the picture for Edinburgh. Our aim is the creation of a new maritime quarter of the city – a living community that encompasses our major development projects.

The name failed to excite some. Edinburghs deputy Lord Provost, Steve Cardownie, who is a Leither, said: I think the name is unimaginative, but is descriptive. People will know where the developers are talking about by using this name but something like Edinburgh Riviera would have been better.

Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said: My understanding is that this is essentially a marketing name for the developments and that seems quite reasonable.

However, the marketing name should not supercede the names of the long-established local communities. These areas are still Leith, Granton and Newhaven no matter what name is used for advertising.

Plans for the area include a new park, a 230-berth yachting marina, a major entertainment and casino complex, an events arena, a luxury hotel, a cruise liner terminal, an art gallery and extension to the Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

Robert Adam, of Robert Adam Architects, who leads the master plan team for Western Harbour and Granton Harbour, said: We have created a plan and design codes that promote a true variety of traditional and contemporary buildings of different sizes and uses, creating the rich mix of styles and materials that help give an area its character.

and below is from-Timesonline-6th March

New Homes: Adam for a new generation
Edinburgh is to get another new town, this time on the waterfront, and it will be as precisely planned as its 18th-century precursor, finds Hugh Pearman

For a man usually associated with designing one-off classical houses for rich people, Robert Adam sounds boyishly enthusiastic about new-town planning. As well he might. Hes got himself two whole new waterfront city districts to design. Not just anywhere, either. Theyre in Leith and Granton, the ports of Edinburgh.

This Robert Adam is unrelated to his 18th-century Kirkcaldy-born namesake. Thats just a happy coincidence. Theres another difference, too: our 21st-century Adam is designing his new Scottish settlements in such a way that modern architects can build alongside the traditionalists without anybody throwing buns at each other. How does he manage this? The secret is something called design codes.

Adam has been called in by Forth Ports, owners of the Leith and Granton harbours, to contribute to their part of a huge string of waterside developments now being planned to connect Edinburgh with the sea. This means Adam is in charge of two new townships on the Forth at Leiths Western harbour and Granton. When you add in homes already being built there by Edinburgh architects, the two schemes add up to 6,400 flats and houses, plus shops, offices, primary schools and parks more than 180 acres in total. If you add in the business developments as well, it comes to more than £1 billion.

Thats just the start. Forth Ports also has another 18,000 homes sketched out in a third masterplan by architects RMJM for another section of the Port of Leith. Last Thursday they formally launched all three schemes under one marketing banner: Edinburgh Forthside. With an eventual population of 24,000, it and its neighbouring developments will be the equivalent of a large town.

Many thousand more homes will be built on the adjacent Waterfront Edinburgh and Forth Quarter schemes by other landowners on former industrial and gasworks sites in Granton. There will be a steady stream of about 1,000 new homes a year being built on the Edinburgh waterside over the next 20 years.

Terry Smith, property director for Forth Ports, does not see this volume of new housing as a problem. City planners reckon that Edinburgh needs 5,000 new homes a year just to meet demand,he says. So we dont think were over-egging it.

Housebuilders are already busy in Leiths Western Harbour. Right next to Adams forthcoming scheme, high-rise apartments by Bryant Homes, FM Developments and Gregor Shore are selling for between £190,000 for a two-bed flat and £700,000 for a three-bed penthouse. Developers are buying plots in Adams plan and will launch their sales operations later in the year.

Adam has designed dense streetscapes of generally low-rise buildings in Leith and Granton. As the housebuilders move in with their own architects, he now has to sit back and watch others grapple with his ideas. The builders have to conform to Adams strict design codes, and he will be policing them. Modern or traditional doesnt matter, says Adam, so long as people stick to his guidelines on size, proportions, materials and how the buildings relate to the streets. For instance: no all-glass facades are allowed.

Its not about building style, but the texture and quality of the district, says Adam. We cant make codes that guarantee good architecture, but they can prevent bad architecture from spoiling the place.

This is all just a bit like Edinburghs 18th- and 19th-century New Town, planned by one architect, James Craig, but built by many hands. There the resemblance ends, however: the New Town was built in fits and starts over a century, whereas Adams two smaller townships will be there in six or seven years. Adam is also allowing a lot more variety.

You dont have to do clever tricks,says Adam. You just have to look at what has worked before, and learn from it.

By and large, Adam has got Edinburghs modern architects on side by going to talk to them and asking their opinions. He has met one or two who try to get round his design codes, and to them he just says no. He knows what he wants this place to look like. Theres a moment, when youre dealing with something like this, when things fall into place and it takes on a life of its own. Weve created a framework to protect the whole place. Were able to describe it street by street.

Not only will traditional and modern homes exist cheek by jowl in his settlements, but the districts planned by other architects will allow a delicious amount of compare-

and-contrast in the years to come. Iam prepared to bet homes in Adams townships will quickly start to sell at a premium. They just feel more like bits of a real city, somehow.

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