Plan for floating village at Leith waterways

An artist's impression of the proposed development in Leith. Picture: Complimentary
An artist's impression of the proposed development in Leith. Picture: Complimentary
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A SOLAR-powered “floating village” is set to be created in the Capital under ambitious plans unveiled by a renewable energy firm.

Sustainable Renewable Technologies (SRT) wants to create the eco-friendly homes on the waterways of Leith.

The proposed scheme is similar to a project announced by London mayor Boris Johnson earlier this year to revamp part of the Docklands.

Talks are currently under way to determine what planning permission would be necessary to construct the one and two-bedroom properties on the water, with firm SRT EcoBuild hoping to have the first premises, which would serve as an office and showroom, on site within the next few months.

Managing director Tom King, 56, said the project aimed to bring “highly desirable city living to this area once again”, and said the homes would provide an affordable option for those looking to buy in the city.

He said: “Certain negotiations are still under way, but this project is a reality and will come to fruition.

“It’s likely that these kinds of dwellings will become more and more popular in years to come. At the moment we are discussing building properties which measure around ten metres by four metres, but in reality any kind of structure is possible. Anything you can build on land, we can build on water.”

Should the development be a success there is even the possibility of a floating hotel being moored somewhere in the city during next year’s Festival.

Mr King said: “One of the best aspects of buildings of this kind is that they can be constructed at one location and then brought to another, meaning there are no building sites in the area. Once a property is placed residents can move in straight away, and the buildings can also be moved to other areas relatively easily should the owners decide they wish to move somewhere else.”

Buyers are also likely to be attracted to the low asking prices for the properties.

Mr King, who intends to live in the first home constructed, added: “As no land needs to be purchased, the homes can be bought for prices around £95,000, though other charges such as mooring costs are likely to apply. However, if you consider that a two-bedroom property in Edinburgh would typically cost £150,000-£200,000 then we believe we are offering a very attractive deal to buyers.”

Energy for the homes would be collected by solar panels on the roof, with air-source heat pumps providing warmth.

It is understood that the plans have not yet been submitted to the city council for consideration.

In March, Boris Johnson announced plans for a “floating village” in east London’s Royal Docklands.

The mayor laid out plans for a 6.1-hectare community of floating homes, restaurants and bars linked to central London and Canary Wharf by a cable car. The floating village is intended to give Londoners the choice of modern, eco-friendly homes, with residents taking out 50-year leases over the water below them.

Inspiration is coming from Holland, specifically the district of Ijburg on the eastern fringe of Amsterdam, where a floating neighbourhood for 45,000 residents is under construction on a lake and neighbouring nature reserves.