Waterfront Plaza – Response To CALA Planning Application
Planning Application by Cala
I would like to register our support for the detailed comments and petition submitted by The Moorings residents association, about the Cala Development at “Waterfront Plaza”. Our comments have been put together with input from the aforementioned residents and colleagues in the Friends of the Water of Leith Basin (FOWLB) and Leith Civic Trust
In particular we would draw attention to the proposal for all of the affordable homes to be located in one corner of the site. I understand that developers are encouraged to distribute the affordable dwellings throughout the site. We appreciate that this is an advisory issue. However we would wish to make the point that the LDP states that affordable housing should be integrated into developments but in this development affordable housing is segregated from main site by a road. The argument for this is apparently that the RSLs prefer to keep all together as easier to manage.
It is also stated in official documentation that affordable housing should be built across all stages of phasing but it is identified as being planned for stage 4, Cala did say at a recent residents meeting that they may have to bring in another builder to enable this.
We are concerned that the plans remain committed to 6 storey buildings, though supposedly reduced to 5, adjacent to The Moorings. This is still creating a great deal of stress to residents of that development. It is appreciated that Cala are trying to address some of the issues raised by those residents, but the height of buildings is a major issue –the Cala proposal is not, in addition, sympathetic to listed buildings in the Conservation area.
We would also like to express our regret that the recreation area that was created around the Victoria Dock is to be built upon with the loss of 43 trees. We have also noticed that according to CEC Planning Processing Agreement –ref 3415511 , 6 September, other Consents required relating to Conservation Area Consent have not been addressed. We are aware Cala are not planning within that area but should it not still require impact assessment?
This area of Leith has very few green recreational spaces and analysis shows that local residents only visit parks or green spaces within a 10 minute walk of their homes. Consequently all the benefit of exercise for the local community will be lost together with the attendant well- being that is generated by such spaces. We would be grateful for your advice as to whether the landscaped area and path is a public right of way as has been in place since 1996 meeting 20 year requirement.
This development is going to add a further 426 homes to Leith and it already has the highest density housing in Scotland. There is apparently no provision in the application for any development of the infrastructure the will be needed to support the new residents. Car parking is already an issue in many areas of Leith and this development is going to make things worse. The provision for parking within the planning guidelines is wholly inadequate because it does not reflect what happens day to day.
Parts of Commercial St already fail to meet the air quality standards this development can only make things worse.
We would urge the planning committee to significantly reduce the number of dwellings allowed thereby retaining the green space and all the benefits for the community as well as reducing the impact on the already stretched infrastructure in Leith.
RCGP Scotland has commented recently that house building plans must consider GP practice capacity. Patient care could be undermined and practices could buckle under pressure if plans to build new housing do not consider the impact on GP services, RCGP Scotland has warned.
The RCGP warned that local planners should have an obligation to ensure ‘the continuation of the safe provision of healthcare’. Failing to factor in the impact of new homes on GP services could undermine patient care and leave practices unable to cope.
This and other areas of wider infrastructure development such as education need to be considered carefully when planning housing developments of this density.
In closing, Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council understands the urgent need for housing in Edinburgh as a whole. This does not though in any way obviate the need to ensure that development is sustainable or for house builders and the council to consider the issues raised above. We do not object per se to the principle of building on brownfield sites like this one, but we are concerned that what is built should be attractive and sustainable while meeting the urgent need for new housing.
Allan R Mackie
Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council
28 September 2016