Under-threat Edinburgh Palette reassured over new base

Emily Millichip, Fashion designer, Edinburgh Palette. 'Picture Ian Rutherford
Emily Millichip, Fashion designer, Edinburgh Palette. 'Picture Ian Rutherford
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BOSSES at the under-threat Edinburgh Palette say they have been assured that any move into a new facility will be made “as easy as possible” for hundreds of creatives based in the building.

The project has called the former register’s office at St Margaret’s House, near Meadowbank, home since 2007, however it looks set to be forced to vacate the 1970s tower block after its owners sealed a multi-million pound deal with 

The Drum Group – which purchased the building from the Caledonian Trust as part of a £15 million agreement – is hoping to turn it into student accommodation.

Planning permissions for the new development which have been agreed in principle also include a new hotel, offices, an apartment complex and a 225-space car park.

However, it has left more than 200 artists in limbo as they prepare to leave the facility next year, sparking a struggle for creative space.

Sophia Burns, community arts director at Edinburgh Palette, said meetings between artists in the complex to discuss the way forward had been 
successful and bosses at the project were now exploring further options for the future.

She said: “The meetings that we have held so far have all been well attended, we’ve sent out a questionnaire canvassing opinions, so now it is all about collating all that information together and finding out what it is that people want to do to proceed.

“We are taking into consideration what it could cost artists in terms of monetary value and how we can help them make that transition in the easiest way possible.

“Obviously we are still in the very early stages of figuring out how we take that forward, but we have been delighted with support from all corners of the arts community so far.”

A final date for Edinburgh Palette to leave the building has not yet been revealed, but it is thought the project will be forced out at some point in 2019.

Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard praised the work of the project, adding that support from local bodies would help ease the moving process.

He said: “Edinburgh Palette is a fantastic example of what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time using very little funding from the public purse.

“They deserve to be applauded for their efforts and the offers of support during this situation have not gone unnoticed.

“We are working closely with local authority and agency bodies to find out what the next step is so that we can provide creative talents in our community with the best possible facility to continue their work.”