New plan for Leith Walk after controversial proposal rejected

Drum Property Group is back with a new set of ideas for the area in Edinburgh.

New plan for Leith Walk after controversial proposal rejected

A developer has returned with a new set of proposals for the redevelopment of part of Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

In 2018, Drum Property Group submitted a controversial £50m plan to demolish Stead’s Place, a 2.9-acre site by Leith Walk, and build in its place a hotel, student accommodation and residential flats.

Local residents and business owners strongly opposed the proposals, which would have seen Leith Walk’s iconic red sandstone shopping strip reduced to rubble, and in 2019 both Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government threw out the plans.

Now, Drum Property Group is back with a new set of ideas for the area.

The group have submitted proposals to develop a mixed-used scheme, which would combine “affordable housing for local people and a range of commercial units in a refurbished building facing Leith Walk”.

Drum Property Group plans to “retain and refurbish” the site’s two-storey sandstone building and make it “available for a range of commercial uses”, which could include shops, pubs, cafes, retail stores and business offices.

Existing industrial units located directly behind Leith Walk would be demolished and replaced with a new “affordable” residential-led landscaped development linking to Pilrig Park.

Due to the coronavirus crisis physical public consolation events are unable to take place, so Drum Property Group has instead arranged an “initial online exhibition event” which will run from midday until 8pm next Thursday.

Members of the public will be able to email questions to the group’s design team and will have until Thursday, August 13 to complete and return an online feedback questionnaire.

Further consultation events will also take place on dates yet to be decided.

Graeme Bone, managing director of Drum Property Group, said: “We remain 100% committed to investing in and improving the whole Stead’s Place site, and are looking forward to this next initial stage of planning consultation, which will now take place online following Scottish Government advice.

“We have listened to a range of concerns voiced during the previous application. As a result, we are proposing to retain and refurbish the two-storey sandstone building to ensure that, once again, it plays an important role in the future of the Leith Walk community.”

A spokesperson for the Save Leith Walk campaign said the community had strongly voiced its desire for affordable housing and to see local businesses flourish in Steads Place.

They added: “We would encourage people to take part in the consultation to ensure it is truly representative and we look forward to reviewing the revised plans in detail.”

By local democracy reporter Noa Hoffman

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