Monday, 25 February 2013

The 'Greening' of Western Harbour

Leith & Newhaven SNP Councillor Adam McVey recently posted a guest blog on the Greener Leith website regarding the temporary 'greening' of Western Harbour. Leith SNP reproduce the blog post below.

One of the first visits I made to a constituent after being elected was to a couple living at Windrush Drive.

I had talked about improving Western Harbour during the Council election and my constituents wanted to know how to progress the idea of greening vacant future development sites.

Over the last 8 months I’ve been pushing for a greening project in Western Harbour and now the first phase is close to breaking ground.

Port of Leith Housing Association is in discussion with Forth Ports with a view to leasing the site which will enable them to take on the maintenance for the 2 hectare ‘school site’. The Edinburgh & Lothians and Greenspace Trust is leading the project, having secured funding from the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund, along with some Council money, to pay for the necessary top soil, seed and tree planting.

The project aims to convert a large area of what the residents currently refer to as ‘the wastelands’ into a green space for the whole community. It’s hoped the new green space will bring what has sometimes been a disparate and somewhat detached community closer together.

The work to ‘green’ the area will only take a few weeks but then the work to transform the site into a community asset can begin.

This will be a 2 hectare blank canvas that the community can project their aspirations onto. Suggestions from residents have already included benches, community growing space, marked out football pitches and designated wildlife areas. Whichever ideas are implemented it will be for local people in Western Harbour and beyond to decide how to get the most from THEIR new green space.

There are a huge number of benefits from a greening project like this. The ambition is that this becomes a community space which raises spirits at Western Harbour and encourages future development on other gap sites. Western Harbour has the potential to supply a large number of desperately needed houses on brown field land which can soak up some of Edinburgh’s housing demand and help protect more sections of Edinburgh’s green built from future development.

The School site greening project will begin in March and won’t take long until completion. However, this is only phase one of fulfilling Western Harbour’s potential as Edinburgh’s northern city floating on the water. There’s still a huge amount of work still to do in order to get other gap sites greened, to get the new park built and to get the rest of the development itself built.

The hope is that a 2 hectare greening project might just be the catalyst needed to bring that development closer to reality.

You can find more background to the Western Harbour temporary greening project here.

Cllr Adam McVey, SNP Councillor for Leith ward

Thanks to Greener Leith for the original article. You can find out more about Greener Leith here.

News of this project was picked up by the Evening News. You can read that article here.