Fountainbridge plan for 400 new homes

An artist's impression of the next stage of the Springside development

An artist's impression of the next stage of the Springside development

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Ambitious plans to rejuvenate Fountainbridge could see 400 new homes built over the next five years – as well as shops, offices and a public square.

The proposals have been lodged by Grosvenor, the developer behind the £100 million Springside complex that has already created student accommodation and an apartment block in the area. The scheme aims to offer a variety of housing in Springside – from studios all the way up to four-bedroom duplex flats – with 141 homes built specifically for the rental market.

Grosvenor bosses said the completed project would boast a communal residents’ lounge and “stunning” rooftop terrace, alongside basement storage and safe cycle storage areas.

And Robin Blacklock, planning and development director for Grosvenor, insisted it would help to establish the location as “a go-to destination within the city”. He said: “Fountainbridge is an area with a rich heritage and a bright future. We want to help revitalise the neighbourhood so it becomes a great place for people to live, work and visit, as in days gone by.

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“We believe that the combination of high-quality long-term rental accommodation in an attractive city-centre location will appeal to people looking for a more flexible way of living in the heart of Edinburgh.

“Our plans will offer a level of service and security not currently associated with privately rented homes. The properties we are proposing will help satisfy rising demand in the city for high-quality medium-term rental homes provided by a reputable landlord.”

The first phase of the Springside complex saw Grosvenor deliver 250 new homes in the area, including affordable housing for the frail and elderly and serviced apartments, as well as two accommodation blocks housing 600 students.

The developers said they hoped new plans for “high-quality streetscapes” and a public square would “help to revitalise Springside and bring back the busy community feel it enjoyed when major employers such as the North British Rubber Company and 
McEwan’s Fountain Brewery were located in the area”.

They added: “The aim is to bring to Edinburgh the customised approach to residents’ lifestyle needs from North America’s more sophisticated rental market and to build on this as the cornerstone of future phases.”

As well as putting forward the proposals, Grosvenor said it had been working with the local community to support regeneration in the area.

A communal garden has been established on vacant parts of the Springside site, while hoardings along Melvin Walk have been decorated with scenes from Fountainbridge’s past, present and future.

Earlier this month children from Tollcross Primary School were invited to draw pictures predicting what the area will look like in years to come – with robot headteachers and rocket-powered cars just two of the imaginative responses.

And last year photos charting Fountainbridge’s rich history were fixed to hoardings after a drive supported by the Evening News urged city residents to send in old snaps. In February, pictures depicting everyday life in the area were chosen to represent how things look today.

Grosvenor’s proposals for the second phase of development in Springside have been submitted to the city council and will go before planning chiefs later this year.

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com