U-turn on Edinburgh water features plan amid a public outcry

Controversial plans to pave over two Leith water features have been dropped, after attracting hundreds of objections from concerned residents.

U-turn: The Commercial Street water feature is safe for now
U-turn: The Commercial Street water feature is safe for now

Guernsey-based Ophelia Investments applied to Edinburgh City Council planners in December for permission to redevelop the old Cafe Tartine space at 72 Commercial Street, Leith, into an office and separate kitchen.

However, the proposals also included plans to pave over two external water features - drawing the ire of the community which subsequently lodged 273 objections with the council.

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One objector, David Igoe, of Pirniefield Place, wrote: “It is quite clear that this application is ill thought out, rushed and incompetent.

“The water features were put in place as a reminder of the links the area has to the sea.

“They add character and the seating round about has been well used by locals during lockdown.”

Michelle Hill, of Commercial Street, wrote in her objection: “Happy for the old cafe tartine to be turned into an office, but 100% object to the removal of the water features/fountains.

“They make the area and would be missed, they have been a feature for many a year.”

Laurie Pierce, of Sandport Street, wrote: “The proposed alterations will negatively impact the appearance and ambience of this important historic location.

“Leith's green and blue spaces are already under threat by overdevelopment and under-resourcing for care and maintenance.

“The proposed alterations would only exacerbate this decline in the area's quality of life.”

Now, following the wave of objections, the developers have withdrawn their application for the works.

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