The City of Edinburgh Council has reached an in-principle agreement with the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) to lease Leith’s Custom House from April 2015.

The final terms of the agreement between SHBT and the Council will be put to the Finance & Resources Committee for consideration in May.

The venture will see the Trust, which already operates Riddle’s Court, work in tandem with the Council and the local community to restore the building as a hub in the heart of the community.

Initial repairs and cleaning inside and out of the building will take place over the course of Spring 2015 to prepare the venue for public access. A feasibility study will be commissioned in due course to also consider the long-term use and development of Custom House.

Last month, the Council announced that it had successfully purchased the historic building, after submitting an offer to the National Museums Scotland late last year.

Commenting on the news, Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture and Sport for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is an important step in the journey to open up Custom House to the Leith community, as well as Edinburgh residents and visitors, and an exciting development as the Council edges closer to taking ownership of the building in April.

“It is such a significant historic building and I’m delighted we have been able to save it for the people of Leith and Edinburgh. It is the oldest of its kind in Scotland having been built in 1812, and we will continue to speak with potential partners about subletting the venue in the short-term, as bigger scale developments take shape, so that public can access and explore the venue as soon as possible.

“The next steps are for the Council to receive the keys and take ownership of Custom House in April and for missives to be signed by SHBT.”

Chair of the SHBT Board of Trustees John Campbell, said: “Although we are a small charity, we have a strong track record in saving important buildings at risk for communities across Scotland and we are delighted now to be involved in securing a future for the Customs House.

“Our first priority will be to make some repairs to the building and spruce it up so that pretty soon members of the public will be able access it.  Its various rooms will be available for use whilst we develop the capital project from feasibility study through to completion.

“This is a very exciting project that will deliver a vibrant mixed use hub for the benefit of the people of Leith and beyond. A key element will be the presentation of selected artefacts and interpretation displays to highlight the historic importance of Leith as the gateway to Edinburgh and Scotland. Other uses may include offices, workshops and public rooms for meetings and events.”

Elected members and community representatives from 15 different Leith groups are being informed at each stage of the project, and an update on the long-term lease of the building is due in May 2015 when a report goes before the Council’s Finance & Resources Committee.

Maggie Wright, Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, 0131 226 3622 / 07801 710360 Email:maggie.wright@mwa.co

About SHBT www.shbt.org.uk

Scottish Historic Buildings Trust is a charity that secures the future of under-used historic buildings across Scotland by expertly restoring them for the nation and finding new uses that can regenerate local communities and the historic environment. Scottish Historic Buildings Trust is in the final stages of fundraising to transform Riddle’s Court, an important 16th century merchant’s house on the Royal Mile, into the Patrick Geddes Centre.



The next meeting of Leith Links CC takes place on Monday, 30th March 2015. Meetings take place in Persevere Room, Leith Community Centre at 7pm. If you live in the Leith Links area we would be pleased to meet you.


Leith Links Community Council Feb 2015 AGENDA 300315

Kirkgate Improvement Survey

The City of Edinburgh Council has a design proposal to improve the area in front of the Kirkgate shopping centre in the next two months. This area is often raised as a concern by local people who want the area to look better and feel safer and we are keen to address these concerns.

 This exciting opportunity to do something with this area has arisen as we are currently working on upgrading the Foot of the Walk junction. We can carry out and complete improvements here at the same time as these works are underway. The owners of the shopping centre are also carrying out an internal refurbishment of the mall and this will complement the works we are planning.

 We have carried out a number of surveys recently to get a feel for local people’s views and these have shown support for the proposals to:

·         Add trees to the area

·         Improve lighting in the area

·         Change the seating layout to provide smaller seating areas

·         Remove the large pointed metal tusk feature

 The Leith Neighbourhood Partnership has agreed, in principle, to the Kirkgate improvements but wants to hear from more people.

 What do you think? Please click on the link below to take our short survey:


 Please let us know by noon Friday 6 March 2015.

 If you want to get in touch to air your views you can also email alan.dean@edinburgh.gov.uk

Would you like to join our team?

We are currently recruiting for staff, come and work with us in our new school projects. 
A new post is being created to join our existing small team to work on an exciting new schools based Leith Community Food Project, funded by the Climate Challenge Fund. 
Our aim is to improve the environment, community participation and the health and wellbeing of the Leith community through influencing low carbon shopping habits, food waste reduction, vegetable growing, and encouraging community composting.

Community Education Officer – 28 hours per week

£24,336 per annum pro rata

With a focus on the environment and community engagement, this post will be responsible for creating, maintaining and developing growing clubs for young children and their families in three Leith based school locations including one secondary and two primary schools. Gathering information and data for a food waste reduction project and measuring outcomes will be an important element.

This post is funded from 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016. Closing date is Wednesday 4th March 

Please send your CV to Evie @ lccipinfo@gmail.com or to Evie Murray, Chair, Leith Community Crops in Pots at 

Suite 1, 46A Constitution Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6RS



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The next meeting of Leith Links CC takes place on Monday, 26th Januray 2015. Meetings take place in Persevere Room, Leith Community Centre at 7pm. If you live in the Leith Links area we would be pleased to meet you.



Leith Decides The Results

The fifth £eith decides has taken place with 37 fantastic projects from which to choose this year.  Leithers allocated £22, 092 in grants of up to £1,000 to 25 projects.  Many people commented on how very difficult is was to make a choice this year.  The community grant awards are as below.

North Edinburgh Dementia Care £1,000

Lothian Autistic Society £1,000 (tbc)

Friends of Prospect Bank School £1,000 (tbc)

Music in Hospitals £672

Leith Festival Association – Tea Dance £250

CLASP £700

Rowanalba £830

St. Mary’s Primary School Parents Council – outdoor fun £1,000

St. Mary’s Primary School Parents Council – Sports Equipment £918

Dr. Bell’s Family Centre £1,000

IWomen £1,000

YMCA – Plusone Mentoring £800

Victoria Primary PTA £1,000

Strange Town £1,000

Leith Walk Primary School Parent Council £1,000

Leith St. Andrew’s Playgroup £990

Leith Festival Association – Toilet facilities £1,000

Leith Primary Parent Council £1,000

Citadel Arts Group £1,000

Hermitage Park School Association £500

Citadel Youth Centre £900

Fort Youth and Community Association £1,000

FENIKS – english classes £885

Stanwell Nursery Parents Council £969

Leith Late £678

Full details can be found the the Leith NP site through City of Edinburgh Council web page

The contractors carrying out the upgrade works to the Foot of the Walk junction (MacLay Civil Engineering Ltd) are anticipated to start mobilising next week, commencing 9 February, with full presence on site expected week commencing 16 February.

 The works, aimed at simplifying and improving the crossing for pedestrians, are expected to take 15 weeks to complete. In addition to road and footway resurfacing, the redesigned junction will see 4 single stage pedestrian crossings installed at the bottom of Leith Walk, Duke Street, Great Junction Street and Constitution Street. Once fully operational the junction crossing will include an all pedestrian phase allowing those on foot to cross more easily than at present improving the overall accessibility of the area in line with the design principles of the Leith Programme.

 For the duration of these works, Constitution Street will be closed at its junction with Leith Walk as part of the traffic management arrangements in place aimed at minimising disruption to traffic flow as much as possible. Local access to this area will be via Laurie Street, Queen Charlotte Street, or Bernard Street. Three way temporary traffic lights will be in operation at the main Leith Walk junction to control traffic flow. It is anticipated that traffic management arrangements will commence on 16 February.

 Bus diversion and general traffic conditions information reminder:

Details of the most up to date information regarding any bus diversions and traffic conditions affecting Leith Walk please visit either of the sites below:



Ongoing Works – Pilrig Street to Crown Place:

Crummock (Scotland) Ltd, contractors on the Pilrig Street to Crown Place section, are continuing with localised remedials and the completion of outstanding works including bus tracker connections and the installation of cycle racks, road markings and associated signage. Getting the latter fully installed is important as this will allow the enforcement of the new parking regulations to commence. Details of these new regulations will follow in a separate update.

 New Design Layout:

The new design of Leith Walk, north of Pilrig Street, with additional formal and informal pedestrian crossing points appears to be working well at this early stage with pedestrians, cyclists and drivers getting used to the new pedestrian friendly layout and crossing locations. One of the main aims of the Leith Programme is to make the area more accessible and safe for those on foot and we would ask that all road users become familiar with the new layout and respect all the pedestrian crossing points.


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