Musicians plan benefit gig to stop Leith Depot demolition

A HOST of local musicians are to play a gig at Leith Depot to raise cash for the campaign against proposals that would see the popular music venue demolished.

Wednesday, 9th May 2018, 10:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th May 2018, 11:00 am
Leith Depot owners Pete Mason, Paddy Kavanagh and Julie Carty. Picture: Greg Macvean

The benefit show is the latest fundraiser organised by Save Leith Walk – a group aiming to influence plans that have been designed for a multi-use development at Stead’s Place.

Developers Drum Property Group has released images and details of its intentions which would see the current structure flattened and replaced with a new multi-storey building.

The initial plans include the development of 54 affordable houses, 500-bed student accommodation, a 50-bedroom hotel and retail space.

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Popular Leith Depot to make way for student housing and hotel

These have been met with an outcry by Leithers who are wanting to protect the heritage of Leith Walk – including the red sandstone frontage which dates back to 1933. An online fundraising page has already gathered more than £2200 in just three weeks.

The group has also organised a number of fundraisers with the next date for the diary being Monday, May 14 when bands such as Briggs and Bradley, Paper Rifles, Borrowed Books, Sinister Lamb will take centre stage in Leith Depot.

Musician and organiser of the event, Ray Neal, 58, said: “The support has been amazing. It is vital we keep these businesses which are still referred to as the ‘new shops’. The plans have caused a real stir in Leith and we firmly believe we can make a difference to the development.

“We’re expecting a sell-out crowd on Monday for the gig which is just one of many fundraising efforts.”

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

Co-owner of Leith Depot, Pete Mason, has said the music venue will likely be forced to close when its lease runs out in October 2019 if the proposals are not altered and has other ideas as to what the community would like to see.

He added: “This land has been earmarked for development, however the building we are housed in is part of a conservation area.

“Retaining and investing in the current art deco building on Leith Walk that already exists within this conservation area is needed. This building is currently viable and the businesses there employ a lot of people and serves the community.

“If this building is demolished and the city council grants demolition, planning can always be amended once granted so once the building is gone there is no definite way back for anyone.

“Refurbishing and opening up reasonable leases for the studios above and shop fronts would enhance the current area rather than demolishing it.

“Developing the rear of the site and incorporating social housing, realistic affordable housing, students housing, a cycle lane and green space that could possibly incorporate the existing viaduct.”

The benefit gig will run from 7pm-10pm with tickets costing £5 on the door with funds going towards the Save Leith Walk campaign.