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Fri June 18 2021

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Edinburgh picks Cruden for Fountainbridge regeneration

17 May Edinburgh City Council is set to approve Cruden Homes as its preferred developer for the regeneration of a major brownfield site in Fountainbridge.

On Thursday 20th May, agreement to appoint a development partner for the next stages of the project will be sought from councillors at the finance and resource committee meeting.

Following a competitive procurement process, it is recommended that the £1.1m contract for the pre-development services for the brownfield site be awarded to Cruden Homes (East) ahead of the full development starting in early 2022.

During the pre-development, work will be carried out to prepare for construction, including finalising designs and selecting a net-zero-carbon energy solution for the entire site, contributing to the council’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

At the end of the pre-development period, should both parties wish to proceed, further committee approvals will be sought to proceed to the construction phase.

The masterplan for the site was approved in 2016 following an extensive programme of community consultation. Regular engagement on proposals for the site has continued with the Fountainbridge Sounding Board, a forum bringing together the area’s key stakeholders.

The masterplan will enable the transformation of the site into a mix of uses including new homes, offices, shops, social enterprise and community spaces knitted together by public areas. The development is intended to complement both the new Boroughmuir High School to the west and Vastint Hospitality’s ‘New Fountainbridge’ development to the east.

The housing element of the development will see a total of 436 new homes built. This will comprise 113 homes for social rent, with over 10% wheelchair accessible, 64 homes for mid-market and market rent and 259 homes for private sale or rent.

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Commercial, social enterprise, retail and community spaces will feature within both the affordable and private housing phases, along with a 100,000 square foot office building that will provide space for early-stage tech companies to ‘scale up’.

The public realm plans involve the creation of new spaces to socialise on the banks of the Union Canal.

Councillor Rob Munn, finance and resource convener, said: “An extensive process and strong scrutiny has gone into this procurement process to get us to this point. We’ll look to discuss this at committee next week and hope to agree that we have a pre-development partner in place that shares our vision while also offering us best value.

“Since the purchase of this underused brownfield site, and the development of the new Boroughmuir High School, we now want to deliver more social and affordable housing and space for businesses, particularly creating space for the data driven and digital sectors that are so important to Edinburgh’s economic recovery.

“It’s important that we build affordable homes across the city and in the areas that people want to live so it’s great that these homes are located so close to the city centre. The development will provide homes that are both cost effective to heat and wheelchair accessible and will be a mix of council housing and mid-market homes, which will be managed by the council’s Edinburgh Living.”

Councillor Joan Griffiths, vice convener, said: “Seeing our masterplan getting closer to becoming a reality is very exciting and I look forward to seeing the site start to take shape and realise our ambitions for Fountainbridge.

“This development will bring a great regenerative feel to this area of the city and through the community benefits programme we have agreed as part of this development contract we also hope to bring new jobs and training opportunities for local people, offer opportunities for local artists while also enhancing existing public spaces in and around Fountainbridge.”

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