Calls for music venue to be included in Leith Walk overhaul
DEVELOPERS have been urged to include a new live music venue as part of a controversial overhaul of a prominent part of Leith Walk.
The Drum Property Group will submit proposals to knock down the existing building at Stead’s Place and construct a development for affordable housing, student accommodation, a hotel and retail space.
Music venue the Leith Depot is currently under threat from the proposals – with residents and public figures, including Trainspotting creator Irvine Welsh, calling for the venue to be saved. Leith Depot’s lease is set to run out in 2019.
Leith Depot, which is also a bar and restaurant, hosts gigs on most nights of the week.
Members of the City of Edinburgh Council’s development management sub-committee have raised concerns and put together a wish list ahead of a formal planning application being submitted.
Cllr Alex Staniforth called on developers to try and provide a new live music venue in their Leith Walk proposals.
He said: “One of the concerns I know some of the local people have about this development is that the area contains one of our dwindling live music venues in the city, the Leith Depot.
“What I would be looking for in a planning application personally – is there space for an equivalent or better live music venue?
“If the planning proposal can enhance cultural life in the area and beyond that, that would be fantastic. Obviously we are looking for planning applications that increase the cultural life of an area rather than diminish them.”
The call for a music venue was backed by planning convener Cllr Neil Gardiner.
He said: “This might be an opportunity for a developer to come forward with a unit which doesn’t allow noise to go outside – so there can be no complaints from neighbours with a soundproofed music venue.”
Developers have previously stated that existing tenants that face on to Leith Walk will be offered the chance to return after two years – with the units remaining available for local businesses and community groups.
Cllr Gardiner added: “This is an opportunity for a real model mixed use development in the city, rather than a sectioned development – a bit of this and a bit of that. Let’s try and give it an integrated building, given its proximity to the densest area outside London in the UK.”
Concerns have also been raised by councillors that the existing iconic red sandstone frontage of the Leith Walk buildings could be lost following the development.
Cllr Gardiner said: “If the developer could find a way of working that existing building facade into the plans in some way, could they see what can be done to incorporate elements of that? I think this is an important application for the city.”
The Save Leith Walk project has launched a crowdfunding campaign.
The developers will hold public consultation events about the proposals at the Leith Walk Barnardo’s shop tomorrow, between 4pm and 7pm, and the Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street on Friday, May 4 between 12pm and 8pm and Saturday, May 5 between 12pm and 5pm.