The History of Leith

March 25, 2005

View from the Turret Room

Below you will see letters concerning the Dock Development recently published by the Edinburgh Evening News, Letters to the Editor giving peoples opinions on the Forthside development in the Old Leith Docks. Please let me know what you think about this by emailing me at arthuc01@hotmail.com this is important that the people should speak up and perhaps who knows we may change things for the better and for everybody and not only for the few.

Old and new Leith miles apart

WHILST I think that creating work is a good thing I dont however think that this Forthside development will do anything for first time buyers getting a step on the property housing market (“Drive to make 25 per cent of new homes affordable” News, March 7).

After the entrepreneurs have made their fortune and first purchasers of new houses make their quick £2000 profit, you tend to end up with houses that are over-priced. In other words all you are creating is a surplus of houses that nobody can afford to buy. The property market has hit its ceiling. There are far too many people buying new houses to rent – again, the rents they are charging are ridiculous.

Leith needs young families living in affordable housing, not get-rich Charlies. Leith is already showing these scars by creating ghetto areas where the old Leith and the new Leith are already a million miles apart.

James E Fraser Cockburn Street, Edinburgh

Division is not social in Leith

JAMES FRASERS letter “Old and new Leith miles apart” (March 11) shows an analysis which is unaware of local developments in Leith. The council has taken a lead role in addressing some of the points he makes.

The Leith Ahead initiative is a network of public, private and voluntary sector agencies working together to create “a balanced, healthy and stable community able to benefit from the opportunities arising from new housing and economic developments.”

It is halfway through a five-year programme which will see a 21st century version of Dr Joseph Bells vision realised by the Dr Bells Families and Childrens Centre due to open in 2006 in a newly refurbished building on Great Junction Street.

With regard to the Forthside development by Forth Ports plc for Leith Docks, an active dialogue has been taking place with council officers in the development of their plans.

This has led to the commitment in the framework to make 25 per cent of the housing affordable but also that 30 per cent of all housing be “family housing” something which Mr Fraser felt should be addressed.

Forth Ports have also shown a commitment to the Leith Ahead process and this is shown by the statement in their Completing the picture leaflet which states “the vision is to provide an extension of Leith and the city, which integrates the old and the new in a mixed, balanced and inclusive waterfront community”.

This is an ambitious aim and one which as a local elected representative I will work to achieve so that the dichotomy between “old and new Leith” is an architectural one, not the social one which Mr Fraser fears.

Councillor Gordon Munro Harbour Ward, Edinburgh City Council City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh

Leithers have a different view

COUNCILLOR Munros letter (March 17), in which he responded to James Frasers concerns about social division in Leiths old and new areas, showed Councillor Munro to be rather arrogant and self-gratifying, in the way he brushed Mr Frasers points of view aside.

He claimed Mr Frasers letter showed an analysis that was unaware of local development in the community.

Surely the point has to be made, if there is an unawareness of local community development amongst the majority of Leithers, then Councillor Munro has not been communicating these wondrous developments.

Councillor Munro seems to be the one out of touch with concerns about social division arising within the Port areas. He should stand along the Kirkgate and ask Leithers what they think about the changes taking place.

Iam sure the views he heard wouldnt be as praising of companies such as Forth Ports, who clearly have the monetary interest of their shareholders before any sympathetic cause towards Leith and its existing community.

Mr Frasers views on social division within Leiths old and new developments have foundation.

Councillor Munro should listen to other peoples concerns and not be as quick to brush aside viewpoints he rejects.

Lawrence Dinse Crewe Road North, Edinburgh

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