Closure-threatened Leith Depot wins extension to its lease after 'positive meeting' with Drum Property Group

A POPULAR live music pub at the centre of the Save Leith Walk campaign has won a short extension of its lease which will allow it to stay open until the end of October.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 9:31 am
Leith Depot has won a month-long extension to its lease.

Leith Depot was facing closure on October 1 but has now secured a reprieve with a lease extension until October 31.

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The Save Leith Walk campaign has been fighting to stop a historic block of shops at Stead's Place being bulldozed for a £50 million development including a hotel and student accommodation. Most of the shops have been forced to close or relocate.

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The campaigners drew up their own vision for the future of the properties and are collecting signatures for an ambitious community buy-out bid.

In a statement on Twitter today, Leith Depot announced: "On the back of a positive meeting with our landlord, we are pleased to say we have agreed a lease extension until October 31.

"For the time being we continue business as usual and we will update you all when we know more.

"Due to the circumstances we have nothing booked in our venue; please get in touch for any gig or event dates.

"Thank you all for your continued support."

The Save Leith Walk campaign has mounted a determined campaign to stop demolition of the sandstone building at 106-154 Leith Walk.

A spokesman for the Save Leith Walk campaign, said: "While we welcome news that Leith Depot is being allowed to stay open for a month beyond its current lease, we are disappointed that the landlord didn’t allow the other businesses, which were successfully trading in the red sandstone building, to remain open too.

“Nevertheless, we hope that today’s announcement is a sign of the developer's willingness to now work with the community and secure the long-term future of this building so it can continue to be a home for locally-owned, independent shops and businesses.”

The Drum Property Group (DPG) wants to demolish the red sandstone buildings at Stead's Place to make way for hundreds of student flats, a 56-bedroom hotel and 53 affordable homes.

Permission was unanimously refused by the city council's development management sub-committee in January, but the developers have appealed.

The scheme suffered a setback in May when Edinburgh University, which had presented the proposals alongside developers in January, withdrew from the scheme saying it was no longer interested in pursuing the 471 student flats. But DPG has shown no sign of dropping the proposals.

Staff at Leith Depot had been pressing the developers to renew or extend their lease until a decision is reached in the appeal.

In August, Save Leith Walk launched an ambitious buy-out bid to rescue the threatened properties should they come up for sale.

They hope to collect enough signatures from local residents to be able to register an interest in buying the building with the intent to manage it and provide community benefits.

And last week the campaigners projected messages calling for urgent action from the Scottish Government onto the vacant shop fronts at Stead's Place along with image of what the shop fronts could look like if they were occupied by community shops rather than student flats.