Historic Edinburgh brewery plan is under threat as buildings crumble

Plans have been brought forward to preserve an historic Edinburgh brewery complex - but the potential developers say time is running out to save the derelict buildings.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:50 pm

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Developers KLN Properties, run by Edinburgh duo Karen and Robert Tait, already have planning permission in principle to redevelop the former Drybrough Brewery site on Duddingston Road West.

The development would convert the site into 131 homes and 15 commercial units, including a cafe/restaurant.

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The brewery in its heyday

Drybrough & Co. was founded in 1750, and moved to Craigmillar in 1892, where it remained until the brewery closed in 1987, and is the only brewery building complex left in an area that once contained seven different breweries.

Since brewing ceased in 1987, some of the site and buildings have operated as a business park for small start up businesses.

However, large parts, particularly the Maltings and the Brewhouse have lain vacant since 1989 and are now seriously deteriorating.

A planning statement, submitted by capital-based architects Format Design, reads: “There are serious concerns over the current state of some of the vacant buildings which form the vast majority of the site and proposed conversion.

An artist's impression of the redeveloped brewery

“It is therefore requested that this application be determined within the statutory time scale of two months to allow the earliest possible start on site.”

The planning statement continues: “Some of the conditions may not be fully satisfied at this point, however it is hoped that the conditions of the detailed planning consent can still include such things as materials specification and ongoing plant compliance with NR25.

“These are subject to change during the tendering processes for the new developments.

“This is a development that is desperately required in order to secure the future of this group of listed buildings, possibly one of the last remaining complete brewery sites in the Lothians.

How the development could look

“We have all the operational buildings present, and adjacent, but outwith the site boundary we have the workers’ tenement and the main brewer’s house.

“A very important and significant collection of buildings in terms of the industrial heritage of Scotland.

“As the following set of images clearly demonstrate, the two principle brewing buildings, The Maltings, The Kiln, The Brewhouse, Chimney and The Wellhouse, are seriously deteriorating and may soon be in a critical condition, becoming structurally unsound.”

Planners will now deliberate on the proposals.

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