Leader: Landmark hotel plans would bring new life to the area

An artist's impression of the planned hotel development at Ocean Terminal. Picture: contributed
An artist's impression of the planned hotel development at Ocean Terminal. Picture: contributed
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ONE thing is certain about the 28-storey hotel tower proposed for the Leith shore – the views would be fantastic.

On one side you would be able to gaze up to Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat and the Castle. On the other, you would get the kind of views up, down and across the Forth that few ever get the chance to see, unless you are lucky enough to get a window seat and a clear day on some flights into Edinburgh. Perhaps the hotel restaurant will end up being on the top floor – like the one at the St James ribbon hotel will be – and we’ll all have a chance to soak in those sights.

There is no escaping the fact that such a huge tower block would transform the skyline along the Waterfront. But what’s wrong with that? After all, dramatic buildings are what we used to excel at – and occasionally still do – in the Capital. OK, the design as it looks in the initial images could hardly be described as adventurous. That’s maybe understandable given the furore that has surrounded some of the more imaginative proposals that have been put forward in recent months. And perhaps the drama of such a huge building should be in its size rather than trying too hard with extra flourishes.

These bold proposals would certainly bring new life into a corner of the city that is currently little more than a dead end. Imagine the bustle of activity that a busy hotel would bring to a part of Leith that in truth has yet to take off in the way that everybody hoped.

The extra customers would offer a welcome boost to Ocean Terminal and the bars and restaurants on Commercial Quay from which we would all ultimately benefit. A landmark development like this could also help to kick-start housing and other development around the Waterfront as it would generate huge interest from across the country. It is going to be fascinating to see what happens next.