I went along tonight to a meeting on "A Vision for Leith Walk", organised by local groups Greener Leith and Leith Open Space. More than 50 people to talk about their visions - big and small - for Leith Walk and the surrounding areas.
Leith Walk is a fascinating street - it's one of those streets where there will be a shop selling anything you could possibly want. It's had some hard times recently - the disruption caused by the preparations for the tram, which is not, for some time at least, going to be going anywhere near Leith. And on top of that the effects of the economic downturn. And yet there are only a handful of empty shops, even though I know many traders are struggling.
The full report of tonight's meeting will be published on-line by the organisers soon, and I'll include links when they area available. Tonight's meeting will be the first in a process, and I was pleased to see that all the local Labour councillors (and my MSP colleague Malcolm Chisholm) were there along with Labour's new Transport and Environment spokesperson, Lesley Hinds, who said she was keen to work to take the ideas forward.
However, I hope that we will now begin to see the type of action that Leith Walk residents, traders, and visitors have been calling for for many years. A 'vision' which is ambitious for the future, but at the same time tackle some of the urgent more simple issues. Cleaner and more pleasant streets and pavements, tidying up the mess caused by bins and litter, better cycle routes, more information from and for the local community about what is actually going on and is available in the area, an audit of existing community provision and community need. These shouldn't be too hard to start tackling now, and if the community, public bodies, and business can work together to do that, we'll be in a good position to work at and implement a longer term vision as well.