Councillor for Fountainbridge - Craiglockhart, Gavin Corbett, says that Fountainbridge is on the right path. Do you agree?
It is good news that the council has agreed the next steps for the former brewery site at Fountainbridge (News, 2 April)
Over the last seven years there has been a lot of work done by people in the community to develop a vision for the site which could make it so much better than the ‘anywhere’ development that pops up in so many of our cities.
There is a constructive dialogue (not always agreement) with the main landowners – the council, Grosvenor, Moda and Vastint – which is very different in tone to many other sites in the city.
As a result, the masterplan by 7N architects has won plaudits, the remnants of the Rubber Factory, once home to 10,000 workers is now being restored as Castle Mill Works by Edinburgh Printmakers, just over the canal, S1 Homes has won awards for canalside development at Horne Terrace, while the brand new Boroughmuir School has gained a legion of new fans following its recent open day.
So, over the next seven years the focus needs to be on delivery. On the council-owned site, the housing plans have shifted, rightly, from a commercial-rented scheme to a more mixed tenure site with at least 40 per cent of the homes at below market price.
On the next door site, fronting Dundee Street, there will be workspace and office accommodation, with the possibility of targeting growing businesses or social enterprises and with the potential for more social housing to provide a complementary use.
Across the whole site, it is ideal for pioneering district heating, including exploiting waste heat from a mains sewer pipe running across the site. That has potential to draw in not only adjacent developers Moda and Vastint but even existing buildings at the end of the canal and, of course, the new school.
And, recently, community group Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative hosted a very well-attended drop-in session to gather views on how threads of green can be kept running through a densely-built urban area.
I am relishing the next few years, seeing plans translated into activity on the ground. There will be ups as well as downs, as there have been over the last seven years. But I don’t doubt the ambition for Fountainbridge.
Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart.
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