First Look: Wetherspoon to turn derelict 'eyesore' Leith building into beer garden for Foot of the Walk pub

Plans are being drawn up to give a derelict “eyesore” in the heart of Leith a new lease of life as a beer garden for a Wetherspoon pub.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 5:48 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 2:02 pm
What the new bar might look like.

The company is hoping to transform the redundant piece of land on Duke Street into an outdoor drinking space for the Foot of the Walk, which runs behind the frontage of the site.

JD Wetherspoon wants to create a customer garden area for the Foot of the Walk pub by adapting he adjoining building at 15 Duke Street – with the external walls of the street frontage being retained but the roof being removed.

If plans, currently being drawn up, are approved by Edinburgh City Council, the new beer garden will be accessed through the existing Foot of the Walk public house. The outside area will be confined to the footprint of the existing building on Duke Street, with landscaping work taking place in the yard area.

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How the beer garden might look.

The firm hopes that the overhaul will improve the physical condition of the existing site, tidy up the street scene along Duke Street and “enhancement to the significance of the adjoining listed buildings and conservation area”. Wetherspoon also claims the new beer garden will improve the security of the site and provide additional employment opportunities. JD Wetherspoon converted a snooker club into the Foot of the Walk in July 2005.

Drop-in Event

A drop-in event will be held by the company at the Foot Of The Walk pub on Thursday 16 January from 3pm until 8pm where the project team will be on hand to provide more information about the proposals and answer any questions.

Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “The Foot of the Walk is a very popular Wetherspoon pub. We are committed to offering our customers the best possible pub and believe they will welcome the addition of a beer garden. It also shows our commitment to the pub and the town.

Another view of the beer garden.

“We believe the beer garden would be an asset to the pub and hope that our investment in the pub, subject to planning approval, would act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in Leith. We look forward to showing off the proposal at the drop-in event.”

The proposals to regenerate the disused site have been welcomed by the city council leader.

Council leader Cllr Adam McVey, who represents the Leith ward, said: “This gap site has been an eyesore for as long as many of us can remember.

“It’s hugely encouraging that there are now plans for people to enjoy sunshine on Leith in a new space that will truly uplift the street. I look forward to hearing what the community think of the plans through the application process.”

A wider view of what the building might look like.

Wetherspoon operates 11 pubs in the Edinburgh and Lothians area including The White Lady in Corstorphine, The Playfair on George Street, The Caley Picture House on Lothian Road and The Sir Walter Scott at Edinburgh Airport – employing over 650 staff in the area.