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Draft Waterfront Area Development Framework Consultation Response

Draft Waterfront Area Development Framework Consultation Response

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Published by GreenerLeith
The Greener Leith response to the City of Edinburgh Council Draft Waterfront Area Development Framework Consultation
The Greener Leith response to the City of Edinburgh Council Draft Waterfront Area Development Framework Consultation

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Published by: GreenerLeith on Mar 28, 2011
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03/28/2011

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!!
Greener Leith
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36, Newhaven Road
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Edinburgh
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EH6 5PY
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justask@greenerleith.org
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www.greenerleith.org
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Andrew Sikes,City of Edinburgh Council,Planning, City Development Department,Planning Delivery, Business CentreG.1 Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street,Edinburgh EH8 8BG28/3/2011
Greener Leith Draft Comments Waterfront & Leith Development Framework
Greener Leith welcomes this opportunity to comment on the Draft Waterfront &Leith Development Framework.Having attended two of the charettes, we agree that the vision expressed in thisdocument largely represents the views of the charettes’ participants in that the threeareas at the Waterfront, Leith, Newhaven and Granton, are considered to have avery clear and strong individual identity. They are complimentary to the overallidentity of Edinburgh, but also function separately as the “beating hearts” of their community. We agree with the broad thrust of the ADF that it is the strong identitiesof these existing ‘hearts’ along the waterfront that need to be supported,strengthened and extended.We are however concerned that the brush strokes with which this ADF is paintedare too broad and that it is therefore open to conflicting interpretations. Weunderstand that this ADF is likely to have a strong influence on the next local plan,and therefore we feel that it is important that ambiguity should be avoided wherever possible.The language used in this draft framework is in our opinion often too ornate andelaborate to give the average reader a clear idea of what is proposed. Greener Leith would welcome a more down to earth style and practical approach. Our fear isthat in years to come it will be impossible to hold anyone to account unless theexisting documentation defines clearly what is being proposed and is not open toconflicting interpretations. This is particularly relevant to a local population whichconsists of some of the most deprived in the UK.It should therefore be written in asaccessible style as possible.The downloadable online images are not large or sharp enough to be able to seethem in fine detail, especially those that are hand-drawn. We would welcome anoption to download higher resolution images of key diagrams.
Greener Leith
is a Scottish Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee No. 365095.
 
We note that the document makes reference to the “Hammarby model,” for promoting sustainable development on the Waterfront. The Hammarby planners setchallenging targets across a br oad range of planning issues
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when they puttogether the Hammarby model; for energy efficiency, sustainable transport use,renewable energy generation, waste minimisation, housing standards and greenspace, to name but some.There are no specific targets set out in the ADF document, but we note acommitment to develop more detailed supporting plans and ‘sustainabilityframeworks’ at a later date. The Hammarby model was based on sustainabilitystandards dubbed “twice as good” as their conventional city standards. Greener Leith would be keen to see the city take a similarly ambitious approach with thisplan.We would also be keen to see safeguards put in place, as far as possible, to ensurethat any standards that are put in place are not then ‘waived’ or watered down atplanning committee stage. As we have witnessed in recent years, some landownersappear to have invested more energy in working out how to undermine the planningstandards that are already in place for the area, rather than working out how toinnovate solutions to meet them.As we are sure city planners are aware there are many factors that must bebalanced in order to build a sustainable place. Wheeler (1998) identifies
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these keyfactors:
Compact, efficient land use
Less automobile use, better access
Efficient resource use, less pollution and waste
Restoration of natural systems
Good housing and living environments
A healthy social ecology
A sustainable economics
Community participation and involvement
Preservation of local culture and wisdomIt is implicit in the ADF that much of the largely private sector led regeneration in thearea to date has not taken account of these factors as fully as most people wouldlike. A further key factor in the perceived success of the Hammarby model was thewillingness of the city authorities to use compulsory purchase powers to acquirekey areas of land in support of the wider regeneration of the area. We note that thisis not an approach that CEC has taken to date.
Greener Leith
is a Scottish Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee No. 365095.
1
“Sustainable Urban Development: the Case of Hammersby Sjostad” Poldermans, C (2006) Available at:http://www.solaripedia.com/files/720.pdf 
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Wheeler, S. (1998), Planning Sustainable and Livable Cities. In: LeGates, R. T. & F. Stout (2003), The CityReader. Urban Reader Series. Third edition. Routledge: London.
 
Leith Docks may resemble Hammarby to the extent that both are post-industrialareas, close to a city centre, with a waterfront. The difference is that Hammarbyhasturned out to be a very attractive place to live, whereas the housing plans for LeithDocks have faltered, with piecemeal housing development to be expected in theshort term. The prospect that a giant, inefficient power plant which is not scaled tomeet a specific heat demand may be built in a prime area of the waterfront hardlyinspires confidence that all the above criteria are any more likely to be met in thefuture.At the charrettes that informed the ADF, the proposed Forth Energy Biomass plantwas clearly identified as a potential threat to the continued regeneration of the area(Pgs 14 and 15), and not reflective of a truly decentralised, low carbon greenenergy development.We are concerned that an attempt is being made in the ADF to reserve space for the giant power plant proposed by Forth Energy, under the Hammarby banner, butwithout the intention to achieve all of the Hammarby environmental objectives for the rest of the community. We note that a key component in the success of theHammarby plant was the attractiveness of the built environment as a place to live.No-one in Leith, or indeed elsewhere
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, believes the large power plant proposed byForth Energy will enhance the neighbourhood as a place to live, and the ADFshould do more to explicitly recognise that large scale, ‘bad neighbour’ industrialdevelopments that will have a significant impact on the surrounding area areincompatible with the publicly funded efforts to develop a mixed economy in thearea.The ADF should seek to protect the aea from further inappropriate developmentproposals such as the Forth Energy power plant and do more to support thedevelopment of a genuinely mixed, resilient, local economy.Without a more developed and wide-ranging commitment to deliver a liveable,attractive, genuinely sustainable place, some may view it as disingenuous to useHammarby as a relevant exemplar. Whilst we don’t wish to be unfairly cynical, wecan’t help but note that local residents have also been skeptical of Forth Energy’srecent attempts to compare their proposed plant to the genuinely low carbon,decentralised, energy systems implemented in Hammarby too
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.
Greener Leith
is a Scottish Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee No. 365095.
3
“Last day for Leith Power Plant objections” Greener Leith, Available at:http://www.greenerleith.org/greener-leith-news/2011/3/11/last-day-for-leith-power-plant-objections.html
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“The Big Leith Biomass meeting: The Tweets” Greener Leith. Available at:http://www.greenerleith.org/ greener-leith-news/2011/2/9/the-big-leith-biomass-meeting-the-tweets.html

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