End of the line: Former tram depot up for sale

The site in Shrubhill was once a tram and bus depot in the Capital. Picture: TSPL
The site in Shrubhill was once a tram and bus depot in the Capital. Picture: TSPL
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THE original home of the Capital’s tram system has been put on the market for development after permission was granted to transform the eyesore gap site into housing and a shopping complex.

Around 160 homes – a mix of apartments, town houses, and colony-style properties – will be built at the mothballed former tram/bus depot at Shrubhill Place on Leith Walk.

Twenty-eight of the new properties will be built within the listed former tram works. In addition, plans allow for a 12,325sq ft retail unit with a Leith Walk frontage.

The 4.5-acre site was granted planning permission last month and property firm DTZ has now placed the £40 million plot for sale with a host of housing 
developers queueing up to take on the project.

Richard Cottingham, a senior surveyor at DTZ said: “We are delighted to be selling such a prominent site and have already had considerable interest from a range of parties given the improving housing market.

“The new consent allows for a large amount and range of new build housing, including affordable units. In addition, the retention and renovation of the historic former tram works buildings and chimney will give the site a unique setting within central Edinburgh.”

It is understood that the properties could be completed as early as December 2019.

The move will see the brownfield site at Shrubhill – located behind the deserted ex-social work HQ at the top end of Leith Walk – undergo a major overhaul that will regenerate a “forgotten” area of the city.

In May, council planners allowed the current owners of neighbouring Shrubhill House, Unite, another 18 months to transform the former city building which has been plagued by vandalism and graffiti.

The union has owned the site since 2006, purchasing it for more than £6m.

Alex Wilson, chair of Leith Business Association, welcomed the latest development at this long-running eyesore site and said: “This site has become Leith’s very own Caltongate and I’m glad that there is at least movement in relation to one part of it. At least there is some positivity surrounding it now – for years it just lay there.

“Housing is much needed in Leith so I’m glad this proposal is still being progressed. On a business front the development will increase footfall and overall economic activity in the area.”

Leith Walk councillor Deirdre Brock echoed this and said: ““Everyone knows that Leith is looking for affordable homes and potential development on this site has to be welcomed.”