Designs for development at Leith Depot unveiled

The block currently houses Leith Depot and Punjabi Junction.
The block currently houses Leith Depot and Punjabi Junction.
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The first visual plans for a five-storey development on Leith Walk have been revealed - including the demolition of the beloved sandstone frontage.

Drum Property Group has proposals to knock down the existing building at Stead’s Place to construct a development for 54 affordable houses, student accommodation, a hotel and retail space.

Artists impressions of the proposed development of Leith Walk.

Artists impressions of the proposed development of Leith Walk.

Residents group Save Leith Walk has hit out at the developers behind the multi-use building claiming they have “ignored the historical significance” of the street.

After viewing the latest plans, Pete Mason, who launched Leith Depot with the help of Julie Carty and Patrick Kavanagh, told the Evening News the music venue will likely be forced to close after its lease runs out in October 2019 if the proposals are not altered.

READ MORE: Calls for music venue to be included in Leith Walk overhaul

He added: “In all honestly it’s not a long-term, realistic or affordable business option for us. If demolishing the entire block is allowed to happen, it will mean the end of another independent grass roots music venue. This cannot happen and should be stopped.”

The plans have been met by a public outcry from residents who have highlighted a number of concerns with the development including the area’s lack of affordable housing, the strain it would have on public services and the design of the new building.

Residents are united in wanting to prevent the demolition of the 1930s sandstone building and retaining the current businesses within the site.

Ross McEwan, Leith Walk resident and urban designer, said: “We had hoped that the developer could have found a way to incorporate the existing building into their plans in keeping with the local community’s wishes, but they have failed to do so and ignored the historical significance of Leith Walk.

“We are calling for all people in Leith, Edinburgh and Scotland - as well as anyone who’s ever had their High Street threatened - to join us in the campaign to save the character and heart of Leith.”

The land was snapped up by Drum last year and has been earmarked for development since 2008 by the city council.

A Drum Property Group spokesman said: “We have started to explore how that [the red sandstone] might work in our plans and our thinking is continually evolving. Our proposals will bring a vibrancy to this part of Leith Walk

“We are delighted that a number of the retail tenants in the existing parade have confirmed that they would like to return to the new development. Others have decided not to return and we wish them well for the future.”

The developers will hold public consultation event at 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. Leith Depot is also hosting its own public event tomorrow evening between 8pm and 9pm.