John McLellan: Pragmatism helps Palette find a new home

St Margaret's House in Meadowbank - Edinburgh Palette's current home - will now be sold
St Margaret's House in Meadowbank - Edinburgh Palette's current home - will now be sold
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Congratulations to the Edinburgh Palette, the arts charity which has just secured a five-year lease from Edinburgh council for the disused Stanley Street depot which will become their “container village” for creative studios and small business incubation units.

Work was done to clear the site during the initial six-month lease and most of the containers have now arrived, soon to be re-painted from industrial yellow to an inconspicuous green (not dissimilar to the old Glasgow Corporation colour) to blend in with the surrounding woods.

There are also some fixed buildings which could be converted to larger studio spaces and the ever resourceful caretaker Eddie McVitie already has plans to turn a derelict “pavilion” toilet block into a little café which will give the whole site a greater sense of place and permanence.

READ MORE: John McLellan: We must work together to save Edinburgh Palette

A full survey of the site will now take place and a planning application with the proposed lay-out submitted within the next three months.

The Palette has also agreed to set aside a fund to pay for the removal of the containers should the lease not be renewed in five years’ time, but on the basis that the venture is successful the aim is to extend the stay for many years after that.

It will now definitely be moving out of its St Margaret’s House HQ early next year to allow the sale of the building to the Drum Property Group to progress. Pragmatism has ruled the day, but it’s sad that Meadowbank is losing such an imaginative and innovative institution.

READ MORE: John McLellan: Empty building are opportunities to grasp