About the campaign

Save Leith Walk is a grassroots public campaign to prevent the demolition of a building, protect the heritage of the Walk, and celebrate the very essence of what Leith is. Please join us now.


The developer have made some changes to their plans.

New Deadline to reiterate your objections : 21st December 2018

If you have objected to the proposed development on Leith Walk you may have received correspondence from the Council.

The revised plans, which would remove a single floor from their proposed development, do NOT change the nature of the proposed demolition and development.

It’s important that you make your voice heard again.


Please go to the planning portal and make it clear to the Council that you still object to both the proposed demolition and development: 

Link to object again on demolition.

Link to object again on development.

We suggest you say something like:

‘In spite of the reduction of a single floor to the plan I still object to the demolition in a Conservation Area and I still object to the proposed development for the reasons listed in my previous correspondence’.  

This is also an opportunity for anyone who hasn’t yet voiced their objection to visit the planning portal and register their opposition. If you need help, you can pick and choose any of the following items which are still valid objections points:

1 Policy Env 5 Conservation Areas – Demolition of Buildings

The site lies within the Leith Conservation Area, designated in 2002. This is the demolition of not one, but an entire row of buildings in a Conservation Area.

4 Policy Env 6 Conservation Areas – Development

The design of the proposed building frontage is completely out of character of the Conservation Area.

LP Policy Env 6  states that “Development within a conservation area or affecting its setting will be permitted which:

a) preserves or enhances the special character or appearance of the conservation area and is consistent with the relevant conservation area character appraisal

b) preserves trees, hedges, boundary walls, railings, paving and other features which contribute positively to the character of the area and

c) demonstrates high standards of design and utilises materials appropriate to the historic environment.

Planning applications should be submitted in a sufficiently detailed form for the effect of the development proposal on the character and appearance of the area to be assessed”;

5 LP Policy Des 3 states that “Planning permission will be granted for development where it is demonstrated that existing characteristics and features worthy of retention on the site and in the surrounding area, have been identified, incorporated and enhanced through its design.”

The conservation/retention focus here is on the street-frontage building, which is architecturally coherent and clearly of some merit. However, the developers have taken a seemingly uncompromising stance that demolishes the building for economic reasons.

6 The building is protected by its status in a Conservation area: Historic Environment Scotland’s guidance note states that “to demolish an unlisted building within a conservation area, conservation area consent will normally be required. An application for consent will need to include reasons for the demolition”. In this case the developers have not put forward any convincing substantiated argument for demolition other than that they consider “the existing buildings at Stead’s Place are no longer an economically viable investment for us” – presumably meaning that retention is less profitable than replacement with a much larger building, which is not a conservation argument. Their attempts to disparage the existing building as “dilapidated” and “old and tired” do not accord with what the current tenants or local residents can see.
7 The red sandstone building is in good condition and makes a positive contribution to the local area. All retail units were fully let until the developer began to stop renewing leases in order to gain vacant possession.  It has a continuing value to local businesses that will not be replicated by the proposals. In the past there have been up to 44 businesses operating in the block. Recently there were 12 retails, food and pub units plus 8 – 10 offices compared to only 6 mixed use units proposed in the new development. There has been no effort by the developer to retain the building by marketing it to “potential restoring purchasers” for a “reasonable period”.
8 Policy Des 1 – Design Quality and Context

The proposed development is too tall and will crowd the area. This part of Leith Walk  enjoys more open aspects and this development will damage the character of the area. This part had help to provide a contrast to other built up parts of Leith Walk.  The proposed design is based on an ignorance of what Leith is rather than understanding the unique character of the area. Creating an unending run of tall tenement properties in this area will create a sense of forced enclosure and damage the character of the area. Instead of Leith Walk being the broad and varied boulevard that sweeps down to Leith it will become an enclosed street.

9 Policy Des 3 Development Design – Incorporating and Enhancing Existing and Potential Features.

The low level building is a rare 1930’s structure in Leith Walk that adds to the character of the area and has not been incorporated into the design. It is worthy of retention.

10 Policy Des 4 Development Design – Adverse Impact on Setting

The height and the form are out of proportion to the streetscape and will have an adverse effect on the local area. The proposed development ignores the fact that the lower end of Leith Walk has tenements with great variety in their design, heights, roofscapes and ages. All current buildings are interspersed with town houses or smaller tenements well set back with front gardens to the street. Due to its scale, the proposed development will have a seriously negative impact on the local setting.

11 Scottish Planning Policy: Sustainability

The development is unable to demonstrate compliance with the 13 principles of sustainable development which is a core policy principle of the Scottish Planning System.

12 Policy Des 6 – Sustainable Buildings

The student residence does not make use of LZCGT (Low or Zero Carbon Generating Technology) and the developer has not proven that they will reduce carbon emissions below target.

13 Policy Des 11 – Tall Buildings

The development is up to 2 storeys taller that those surrounding and this is inappropriate in the building context.

14 Policy Env 5 Conservation Areas – Demolition

The building is in good condition and makes a positive contribution to the local area.  There has been no proven effort by the developer to retain the building by marketing it to “potential restoring purchasers” for a “reasonable period”.

15 Policy Env 6 Conservation Areas – Development

The design of the proposed building frontage is completely out of character of the conservation area.

16 Policy Env 22 Air quality

The developer fails to address air quality issues and used inappropriate modelling techniques to claim reduced car use.

17 Policy Emp 9 Employment

The surrounding businesses may suffer inhibitions in their development due to noise complaints from the new development. If the development goes ahead the current business may be constrained by noise complaints from the new development.

18 Policy Hou 3 Private Green Space

The proposed usable green space is less than a third of what should be provided.

19 Policy Hou 4 Housing Density

The housing density of the site is 5 times that of the rest of Leith Walk which is already the most densely populated part of Scotland.

20 Policy Hou 8 Student Accom. and Student Housing Guidance

The proportion of student residence to housing is not acceptable as it is greater than 50:50

21 Policy Tra 2 Private Car Parking

Not enough parking is planned which will decrease the amenity for neighbouring business and residents. The development will increase on street parking to the detriment of road safety.

22 Stead’s Place/Jane Street Development Brief

“Significant” business space is not being provided, the development will restrict existing businesses, the proposed building is much higher than adjacent buildings, the housing mix is wrong.

23 Leith Town Centre Supplementary Guidance

There is a loss of 46% of available retail frontage to a university canteen which could have been placed on a different level to the building.  The proposed development will negatively impact local retailers.

24 Scottish Planning Policy: Placemaking

The development is unable to demonstrate adherence to the six qualities of a successful place which is a core policy principle of the Scottish Planning System.


The proposed development

Drum Property group have submitted a Full  Planning Application  for a huge mixed development at Steads place, Leith Walk.

The Planning key details are:

  • Demolition of the red sandstone buildings at 106 – 154 Leith Walk, where a number of lively and well loved local businesses currently operate.
  • 471 Student bedrooms.
  • 56 bedrooms hotel.
  • 6-7 storey high buildings.
  • Only 53 ‘affordable housing’ flats.

Newsletter & Coming Workshop

Our Newsletter #1 is just out:

Save Leith Walk is carrying out a SURVEY of what people’s alternatives could be developed for 106-154 Leith Walk and the land behind.

The results will be used to support a Community Planning Workshop we will be hosting on 19th January 2018. Please take part here.

I am Leith Walk Business Centre