Charity behind Edinburgh's biggest arts hub plans further expansion

Arts charity Edinburgh Palette is drawing up plans for further expansion after signing up to become part of the £1.3 billion transformation of Granton Waterfront.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:55 am

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Best known for running the Capital’s biggest arts hub with 250 studios at St Margaret’s House on London Road, the Palette recently secured the lease on a vacant industrial unit at 20 West Shore Road, which it plans to turn into a creative and community hub.

It is also exploring the installation of up to 50 modular cabin units as studios on a 1.7-acre, council-owned site at Stanley Street, next to Portobello Golf Course.

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The premises at 20 West Shore Road will provide studios for creative industries and others

And now it is in talks over the potential for setting up studios and workspaces in a number of other buildings in the Capital.

The future of St Margaret’s House remains uncertain – the block is earmarked for redevelopment and although an expected sale recently fell through, lifting the immediate threat of eviction, the Palette still knows it may have to leave before long.

Leaders say they hope the Granton project would be a springboard for further developments.

Palette development manager Andrew Chainey said: “This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the charity. We have had a remarkable response to the Granton announcement from creatives, craftmakers and the wider community.

Edinburgh Palette hope the Granton project will be a springboard for other developments

“At the same time, we are working with our lawyers at legal firm Lindsays as talks continue on a number of other potential sites where we could set up studios, with our team energised further by the buzz created around the waterfront move.

“St Margaret’s House is, and has been, a great home for us. Our plans build on our success there, whether we remain longer term or not. The prospect of not being able to have studios there has, however, focused our minds on how we not just continue to support the arts sector in Edinburgh, but expand the ways and places we do that.”

The Granton project will include studio space for creative industries, the third sector, freelancers and micro-businesses and also affordable shop space for local retail and hospitality businesses.

The Palette plans to run its new Granton operation – along with any other sites – in tandem with St Margaret’s House.

Louise Norris, a partner at Lindsays who is working closely with the charity on its buildings plans, said: “Edinburgh Palette is showing real vision as it prepares for the future, with proposals which will broaden its reach throughout the city.

“At West Shore Road, their work will transform a vacant industrial unit into a vibrant creative and community hub. They have so many exciting things they want to achieve here and at other sites.

“Talks over securing other sites are progressing well and we hope that there will be news of further developments in the coming months.

“The interest in the waterfront development alone shows the huge potential for creative and artistic workspaces across the city which Edinburgh Palette is unlocking, supporting an industry which we know is important for the economy.”

The West Shore Road site will be part of a growing creative, cultural and arts cluster at Granton Waterfront, including the National Museums Collection Centre, National Galleries of Scotland’s Granton Art Centre, Edinburgh College’s Granton campus and the new 600 sq m Granton Station enterprise hub.

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Edinburgh arts charity wins lease for creative hub at Granton Waterfront

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