Save Leith Campaign close to victory

It’s the final showdown between the Save Leith Campaign and Forth Ports today as the property developer waited for a conclusive decision on planning permission from City Chambers. Edinburgh Council and Forth Ports met for the last time this morning to discuss the property developer’s planned multi-million pound development at Leith Docks. Plans to brand an area of the development as Edinburgh Harbour have come up against strong local opposition and protestors are hoping this latest round of talks will result in a compromise on the name.

Council leader Jenny Dawe said last week: “I think there is a way compromise can be reached on the Leith name being incorporated. Forth Ports had made their position clear but perhaps they weren’t aware of the strength of local feeling on the matter.

Last week folk singer Allan Johnson became the latest Leith resident to add his weight to the campaign by penning the battle song ‘Siege of Leith’. He is one of thousands of residents who have pledged their opposition to the proposed renaming of the historic docks and has performed the song for local and national news. He said: “I think it is the greatest of insults to the people of Leith and their traditions to suddenly come along and rename Leith docks for no other reason than a corporate one.

Last Wednesday the Save Leith campaigners delivered a 4000-strong petition collected in local shops and bars to the council. Councillor Gordon Munro, who received the petition, was confident the protest would make a difference to Forth Ports plans. He said: “Forth Ports will find this very difficult to ignore. The level of support for the campaign is fantastic and I will make sure the message is delivered loud and clear to the council leader so she can pass this on to Forth Ports.

The campaign also continues to receive strong support online, as almost 1700 users have joined the “Save Leith Petition Group 2009.” Messages and support have come from far and wide and online campaign co-ordinator Iain McGill has promised that the campaigners are confident the decison will go in their favour. He said: “We are all very much looking forward to the decision from the Council but Forth Ports can rest assured if the decision goes against us, we won’t just give up. Our level of support just keeps growing and growing. And with interest from national newspapers and television news we are hoping to get even more support.

Forth Ports and Edinburgh Council will make an announcement on the decision later today.