Craigmillar plans redrawn to attract private investors

An artist's impression of the Parc-led regeneration plan for Craigmillar
An artist's impression of the Parc-led regeneration plan for Craigmillar
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A NEW urban regeneration plan for Craigmillar will be drawn up and presented to developers in an attempt to kick-start interest in the area.

Planning chiefs have admitted attempts to transform the district are running around four years behind schedule and a new vision is needed to attract private investment.

Residents of Craigmillar will be asked for their input on the stalled plans in the new year as part of a major public consultation exercise.

Topics will include whether there are too many flats and not enough family homes in the current plan, and how the proposed “town centre” will now look.

City council chiefs admitted the 2005 plan currently used is no longer workable because private developers are now so constrained in what they can build.

It was originally intended that Parc – the firm set up by the council and city house builder EDI to revive the area – would create 2200 new publicly-owned homes, but just 400 have been delivered so far.

Another 1000 were to be built by private developers for sale on the open market, but just 190 have been completed to date.

Work on social housing is not as far behind, but private firms in particular have been hit by the recession.

There has been a significant knock-on effect on the planned town centre and a replacement for Castlebrae Community High – which is currently facing closure – because both were to be funded from the sale of the new private homes.

Ian Perry, the city’s planning leader, said: “When the original masterplan was drawn up in 2005 we envisaged building thousands of new homes to attract people to live in the area.

“Craigmillar has historically been almost 100 per cent council homes and we wanted to make that around 60 per cent, with 40 per cent private housing.

“This would bring a greater mix of workers into the area and create a vibrant community, a new town centre, with a secondary school and a major supermarket.

“The recession and the banking crisis has affected that significantly and we are currently running around four years behind.

“We are committed to regenerating Craigmillar but we have to be realistic about what is possible. We will be going into communities and asking people what they want to see happen.”

Despite the setbacks, two new primary schools have been built and the council’s new East Neighbourhood Centre and Craigmillar Library at Niddrie Mains Road has recently opened to the public.

Drop-in days will be held at the refurbished White House, along with other venues, in the new year and officials have planned walkabout exercises to discuss proposals with residents. A report on the new plan and the consultation document will be available today on the council website.