Save Leith Walk campaign launches ambitious bid to buy demolition threatened building
Grassroots community campaigners in Leith have launched an ambitious buy-out bid to rescue a threatened building should it come up for sale.
A community body is being set up by the Save Leith Walk campaign to secure the rights to the Stead’s Place sandstone building which is set to be demolished and turned into student flats by Drum Property Group.
If successful, the community body plans to offer affordable, short and long-term rental space within the building for community groups, local businesses, creatives and pop-up facilities, through the purchase and re-use of Leith Walk Business Centre.
The City of Edinburgh Council threw out Drum’s planning proposal in January 2019 as it did not meet Scottish planning law. The decision is currently subject to an appeal considered by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Land Reform Act 2003, empowers communities to register an interest in buying land or buildings to buy when they come up for sale. Something Save Leith Walk have expressed an interest in.
A spokesperson of Save Leith Walk said: “The sight of boarded-up shops along Stead’s Place are symbolic of the abject failure of Drum’s plan. If it comes up for sale, we want to bring this site back to life in a sustainable way.”
Despite seeing its plans rejected, Drum Property Group has continued to terminate the leases of businesses occupying the site.
Kairin van Sweden, who runs the Punk Anatomist personal training business, said: “As a small Leith business, I find it very difficult to find suitable, affordable premises to grow my business. This difficulty is further exacerbated by large businesses buying property as a ‘parked’ asset, which they don’t even require a rent from. These ‘parked property assets’ are holding smaller entrepreneurs back and diminishing community vibrancy.”