Edinburgh's refurbished Granton station will house artists' studios

The lease for the refurbished former railway station next to Granton gas works is set to be handed to a charity billed as the UK's biggest provider of affordable studio space..

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 4:55 am

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Work on the century-old B-listed building is due to be completed early next year and councillors will be asked tomorrow to approve a 25-year lease on the premises to Workshops and Artists Studio Provision Scotland Ltd (Wasps).

The £4.75 million refurbishment is part of the massive £1.3 billion waterfront regeneration scheme. It also includes turning the old railway yard next to the station into a civic square which could host markets and events.

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The work on the station is due to be completed early next year Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The council will receive a rent of £10,000 a year, rising in line with the inflation, and the new tenant will contribute £200,000 to the refurbishment costs.

The station, which is of classic Edwardian design, was built in 1903 to serve the Granton gas works. Trains were operated by the Caledonian Railway on behalf of the Edinburgh and Leith Corporation Gas Commissioners and the station building included the time office where workers clocked in, as well as toilets and lockers, with a footbridge across the railway lines leading to the works. The station closed in 1942 and has been largely disused since.

The council acquired the station in 2018 and says its refurbishment and new use as a creative hub will complement the community enterprise and cultural activity which will be brought to the area by the letting of nearby 20 West Shore Road to art base Edinburgh Palette.

Three proposals were received for the building, were assessed by a panel of officers from the Granton Waterfront Project Team. The preferred submission, by Wasps, will now go for approval by tomorrow’s meeting of the council’s finance committee.

A report to the committee says: “Founded in 1977, Wasps now operates more than 20 buildings across Scotland, providing workspaces for approximately 900 artists. It is the largest provider of affordable studio space in the UK.

"Wasps has won multiple awards for its work and has previously brought a number of historic buildings back into use as creative workspaces, for example the Meadow Mill former jute mill in Dundee.”

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