Undoubtedly the most important work was the deadline for objections to help “Save Leith Walk”. I submitted my objections to both the demolition application (Planning Reference 18/04349/CON) and to the application for build (Planning Reference 18/04332/FUL).
There were a record number of comments on both applications with 1,848 on the demolition (objections 1,752 : support 89) and 1,897 in respect of the application for build (objections 1,546 : support 347). The developer canvassed heavily for support and it is clear from the application itself that students had been targeted in particular for the application.
I asked that both applications are given a hearing by the Planning Committee as this application is not just about the built form Leith takes but also the social form it takes. A good example of this is that the student housing would raise the population in Leith Walk Ward alone to 2,323 in a ward where the Census put the total population at 31,120. This is against policy Hou 8. I can supply a copy of my submission should you wish to view my comments.
‘Happy Anniversary’ – 1920/2020
I also made an intervention in the debate about how the Council would mark the 1920 Act which incorporated Leith as part of Edinburgh, following a period of independence as a burgh in its own right from 1833 to 1920.
This was well received by all in the Chamber and the humour was picked up on in the press and widely reported.
You can watch this speech and my exchange with the Council Leader on the webcast.
Leithers Don't Litter organised a litter pick on Leith Beach as part of the "Big Beach Clean Up" on 14th September. Despite the rain we managed to gather a lot of items on the day with a large group of 30 of us helping out.
They have some great photographs of the work done on their Facebook page and a new website too.
Leith Community Education Centre
I attended the AGM of the management committee here and thanked two of the stalwart members of the committee for their work which came to nearly 50 years between them in service of the Community. I am pleased to see that local member Michael Traill has been elected chair of the Centre and am sure he’ll have some great ideas to lead the Centre into a new period.
I was pleased to be asked to say a few words at a benefit gig at Leith Depot under the banner of ‘We shall overcome’. This UK wide initiative brings together artists to perform for their community. The gig saw the Farting Suffragettes, Gallo Rojo, Calum Baird and myself help raise funds for North West Food Bank . I pointed out that in Forth Ward and Leith Ward 27% of all people were in poverty. I finished, following a request, with my poem #saveleithwalk and earned a round of applause.
Labour Party Conference
I managed to speak on in-work poverty at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool and you can now find my speech on YouTube.
It was good to bring the issue to the floor of Conference shining a light on what I regard as a major issue in Edinburgh North and Leith which has more than half of all those in-work in poverty in the city.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org