New bid to find buyer for 40-acre Granton landmark

The Granton Gas Holder. Picture: Bill Henry
The Granton Gas Holder. Picture: Bill Henry
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A NEW bid to finally find a buyer for Granton’s historic gasholder has been launched – by offering it along with room for 1000 new homes.

The landmark structure, which was originally put on the market two years ago, is now being offered to developers with an additional 40-acre site which could become a thriving residential area.

National Grid Property, which is selling the land, has said potential buyers will have to demonstrate their commitment to repairing the structure, as well as their plans for the land before securing a deal. If no buyer comes forward, it will apply to demolish the gasholder.

Built in 1898, the holder – once used to store natural gas – earned listed status from Historic Scotland 16 years ago, which has previously hampered bids to demolish it and rebuild on the site. No buyers have shown an interest in the last two years.

Benjamin Gaunt, from National Grid Property, said: “National Grid is keen to unlock the potential of this area and bring forward much-needed family housing for the city.

“We have asked for consent to remove the gasholder which is now redundant to National Grid’s operational requirements.

“As part of its consideration of the application to remove the holder, the city council and Historic Environment Scotland have asked us to market the gasholder and surrounding site to ascertain whether there is any interest from a purchaser willing and able to develop the site and repair the gasholder.

“If following the marketing process no suitable purchaser has come forward, we will continue to play our role in regenerating the Forthquarter and will work with developers to enable the delivery of much-needed housing and apply for the demolition of the gasholder.”

Four similar structures in Vienna, built in 1899, were recently revitalised with the city using them as music 
venues, while in Dublin, an old gasholder was converted to stunning residential flats.

Local councillor Steve Cardownie said despite the gasholder being a reminder of Edinburgh’s past, he believes it’s time to “move on” and use the space for much-needed housing.

He said: “If it turns out the gasholder is preventing developers from buying the land to build much-needed housing I am relaxed about letting it go.

“More housing in this area is vital and the gasholder has been controversial for quite some time.

“It’s not the prettiest of structures, but the local community do have mixed feelings about it.

“It’s a reminder of the city’s history.”

Mark Coulter, chief executive at Coulter’s estate agency who previously worked on the Forthquarter, said the gasholder may still prevent potential developers from buying the land.

He said: “I think developers would rather the gasholder wasn’t there.

“If they are trying to build a residential development, the gasholder will create a commercial look right beside it.”