Popular Canonmills pub Smithies could be flattened to make way for flats

A well-loved local boozer could be razed to the ground and replaced by flats in Canonmills if new plans are given the green light.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 10:15 am
Smithies Ale House on Eyre Place

Smithies Ale House on Eyre Place first opened in the 80s as a recreation Victorian pub designed by Dougie Smith, but new plans lodged with Edinburgh Council planning department indicate last orders could be permanent.

Submitted by David Blaikie Architects, proposals for the traditional pub on behalf of owners Lindsay McArthur would be demolished to make way for the construction of a new block of flats.The block would be three storeys with an attic and a basement.

Developers say the loss of the pub will have no impact on the local community due to the proximity of two other pubs Brandon’s of Canonmills and O’Connor’s.

Smithies Ale House on Eyre Place

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A Smithies regular said although he would be sad to see Smithies go, there wouldn’t be a lack of other options in the area.

“I would miss it because its my local - but it is not like the building is of historical value. People think it is hundreds of years old but it’s not the Cafe Royal.

“It was formerly tenement flats and then a block of three shops which lay derelict for over 20 years before being demolished to build Smithies, named after its creator Dougie Smith.

“He was an architect and planner whose business was doing up pubs all over the UK and even a few in Australia.”

Mr Smith recreated a traditional Victorian pub with acute attention to detail including gas lamps, huge ornate mirrors and stained glass windows on the doors.

“Originally it would be a place for people to meet and talk,” Mark added. “It was an old fashioned pub without tellies and you knew the gas lighting was real because you used to burn your head when you stood underneath them.”

He said he understood the owner’s desire to retire and look at options.

“It’s a lovely pub and it has got a nice atmosphere and as a local amenity with a particular style that I would choose to drink in, it will be a miss but it is also only a two minute walk to Brandon’s and three minutes to the old Stag’s Head, now O’Connor’s.

“It’s not like we’re getting rid of all the boozers in the area - ten minutes up the road to Broughton Street and there’s loads of choice.

“Should it go, I would I would be very sorry for the reason that it is that a family-run business and the family work in the business.

Concern was raised during a public consultation in 2017 over the initial proposed height, 4 storeys, of the building.

It was during the consultation that it was suggested the block be reduced to 2 or 3 storeys, according to application documents.

If successful, the flats on the ground, first and second floors would contain single studio flats with a 3 bedroom flat planned for the attic and bike and bin storage in the basement.

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