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Tue December 05 2023

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Edinburgh’s largest brownfield site set for £1.3bn transformation

20 Feb 20 Edinburgh Council has set out its plans for a £1.3bn regeneration of the city's largest brownfield site.

It has published a proposal for the transformation of Granton Waterfront into a new coastal town. The aim is for the former industrial land to become one of Scotland’s leading sustainable developments, with new homes, business, culture, leisure, learning and employment opportunities.

The proposals involve about 3,500 new homes, a school, medical centre, new cycling and walking routes and sustainable transport connections with the city. The council said that the development has an overall gross development value of around £1.3bn, and that it is committed to investing about £196m to accelerate the regeneration and attract public and private sector funding.

Granton Waterfront consists of around 140 Hectares of former industrial land and is currently characterised by fragmented ownership, piecemeal development and a slow build-out rate following the 2007 financial crisis. In March 2018, the Council purchased the former gas works from National Grid providing an opportunity to consolidate land holdings and accelerate the delivery of housing-led regeneration.

The council’s housing association partners are currently delivering about 700 new homes for sale and rent within the Granton Waterfront area. There is also a commitment by public sector partners National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and Edinburgh College to work in collaboration to make this one of Edinburgh’s best places to live, work, learn and visit.

The plans will be presented to the Council's Policy & Sustainability Committee, which meets on Tuesday next week.

A development framework for Granton Waterfront will be published by the council today (20th February). It sets out the vision, key principles and design guidance and will be considered by the Council’s planning committee on Wednesday next week. When agreed it will be used as a guide for developers when making future planning applications.

The framework supports the Council’s draft City Mobility Plan as it proposes an extensive network of new routes that promote walking and cycling over car use. Car parking has been reduced and there is a commitment to improve bus services and other forms of sustainable public transport, which will include looking at the business case for a future phase of the tram. Cultural hubs and business start-up space are also part of the framework.

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Cllr Adam McVey, leader of the council, said: “We’ve made a commitment to become a net zero carbon city by 2030 and the regeneration of Granton offers the perfect opportunity to showcase how this can be delivered. We are committed to working with the local community and partners to create vibrant new neighbourhoods where people live and travel and grow the economy in an eco- friendly way.“

Cllr Cammy Day, depute leader of the council, added: “The regeneration of Granton will create hundreds of new jobs linked to growth of new services, business, leisure and creative industries and will strengthen the retail and small businesses that already exist.

“Our public sector partners Edinburgh College, National Museums Scotland and National Galleries Scotland, who all have land or buildings within Granton Waterfront, are committed to working collaboratively to maximise the impact of combining our resources.”

Following committee approval, the council will work with the Scottish Government and other key partners to develop the funding strategy. A programme of temporary uses for the site and early action projects in vacant buildings or land awaiting development will also be taken forward.

The Council will shortly be bringing forward plans for an initial phase of development at Western Villages ahead of the wider transformation. Proposals for the development of about 400 new homes for sale and rent in the area will be out for consultation in spring this year.

Progress on site within Granton Waterfront includes the development of over 700 affordable homes recently completed or under development by Polha, Link and Places for People. The council has appointed a contractor set to start work this summer to restore Granton Station. It is also promoting temporary uses for empty buildings as a resource for the local community while the site is being permanently developed. Possible uses include an urban wind turbine pilot and Beach Box Granton – shipping containers on the shoreline to provide affordable space for cafes and leisure.

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