36, Newhaven Road
Head of Planning
City of Edinburgh Council
4 East Market Street
13/01013/AMC | Application to discharge matters specified in condition 2 of outline planning permission 01/00802/OUT : variation of the matters approved by application 06/03636/REM, being the siting and height of development; design and configuration of public and open spaces; access, road layouts; footpaths and cycle routes; existing and finished ground levels in relation to ordnance datum. | 65 West Harbour Road Edinburgh EH5 1PW
Greener Leith welcomes the development of this area. However we would like to make the following comments on the following aspects of above planning application.
Connectivity with North Edinburgh Cycle Network and Promenade
In our view this proposal does not do enough to connect with the existing active travel facilities that link with the development. These linkages are important, given that the proposal will lead to an increase in the numbers of people both living and working in the area.
The redevelopment of this area provides a historic opportunity to install good quality active travel facilities that will help to support both city-wide and national transport targets. We urge city officials to ensure that the same mistakes in integrating public space and active travel facilities into Western Harbour are not replicated in this development.
Given the quality of the North Edinburgh Cycle Network in the area, and the investment that the council has made in developing the Watefront promenade, similar quality facilities should be provided in the area affected by this development.
Specifically we would like to see planners impose conditions on this consent to ensure that the developer provides:
1. A segregated two-way cycle lane running along the north side of West Harbour Road, in order to allow cyclists to travel East-West along the coast, without being forced to detour all the way around the coastal perimeter of the new development.
2. The excellent segregated cycle facilities on Waterfront avenue should be extended to the junction with West Harbour Road with appropriate signalised crossings allowing safe entry and exit to the development.
3. An additional signalised crossing, with dropped kerbs and facilities for cyclists, should be provided at the Western boundary of the development at Western Harbour Road, where the coastal path meets a dedicated traffic free path that connects southwards with Waterfront Avenue.
Overall approach to cycle movement within the development
We note also that there are no proposals to include on-road dedicated cycle facilities within the development itself. Instead the developer proposes that most pavements will be constructed as shared use surfaces.
This approach should not be supported by council officials, as it requires cyclists to give way to motorised traffic at each junction. This is very inconvenient, and will deter people from cycling within the development. It is also counter to current Scottish Government planning policies.
Instead we urge planners to insist that the developer incorporates segregated, dedicated on-road cycle lanes along the main arterial routes within the development. As a bare minimum, we would suggest that these facilities are required along the full length of “Hesperus Broadway.” These facilities should be designed in such a way that they integrate seamlessly with the existing facilities on Waterfront Avenue.
Again, we would make the point that installing these facilities at a later date will be considerably more difficult and expensive than incorporating them into the design of the initial build.
Specification of waterfront promenade
The specification of the waterfront promenade at Western Harbour has been criticised as inadequate by both locals and professionals. The current proposal for Granton is apparently silent on the detailed specification for the boardwalk.
In order to avoid similar criticism of the promenade in this area, we urge council officials to attach conditions to this consent that specifies an appropriate minimum width, and accessibility standards for path linkages. In particular, we would like to see a condition imposed that will ensure that stepped access points are “designed out” of the promenade.
Furthermore, planners should attach conditions to ensure that this important piece of infrastructure is completed during the early construction phases of the project.
Provision of public greenspace
It is likely that it will take many years to complete the build out of this development. Timely investment in public green-space will be vital to the success of the project, and we urge both city planners and the developer to learn the lessons from Western Harbour in this regard.
We note that there has been so little private sector investment in public green space in Western Harbour that - despite long term plans for a new public park - the public sector has nevertheless been required to subsidise - at a cost of many thousands of pounds - the creation of temporary green spaces in the area.
In order to minimise the likelihood that taxpayers will once again be required to subsidise the creation of temporary green spaces on private land, planners should insist on planning conditions that ensure that appropriate investment in public green-space is triggered at an early stage in the build out of the development - even if some of this space is ultimately “temporary.”
Greener Leith is a Scottish Charity number SCO40838 and a company limited by guarantee No: 365095