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Councillors are being asked to agree Cruden Homes should be awarded a 38-week, £1.1 million pre-development contract paving the way for the main construction work starting in early 2022.
A masterplan for the site approved in 2016 will mean a mix of uses including housing, offices, shops, social enterprise and community spaces. The new Boroughmuir High School has already been built to the west and Vastint Hospitality’s “New Fountainbridge” development to the east.
The housing element of the plans will see a total of 436 new homes built, including 113 homes for social rent, over 10 per cent of them wheelchair accessible; 64 homes for mid-market and market rent; and 259 homes for private sale or rent.
Commercial, social enterprise, retail and community spaces will feature within both the affordable and private housing phases, along with a 100,000 square foot office building which will provide space for early-stage tech companies to “scale up”.
And the council says a cohesive, high-quality public realm will create attractive new spaces to socialise on the banks of the Union Canal while a wide range of community benefits and fair work proposals will also be delivered. These will include a £100,000 community fund for projects to enhance the canal towpath, creating park, commissioning local arts projects, work experience placements and apprenticeship opportunities for Boroughmuir pupils and the long-term unemployed, and summer internships paying the Real Living Wage.
Finance convener Rob Munn said: “We want to deliver more social and affordable housing and space for businesses, particularly creating space for the data-driven and digital sectors that are so important to Edinburgh’s economic recovery.
“It’s important we build affordable homes across the city and in the areas that people want to live so it’s great that these homes are located so close to the city centre. The development will provide homes that are both cost-effective to heat and wheelchair-accessible and will be a mix of council housing and mid-market homes, which will be managed by the council’s Edinburgh Living.”
The pre-development work will include finalising designs and selecting a net zero carbon energy solution for the entire site, contributing to the council’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
Green councillor Gavin Corbett, chair of the Fountainbridge sounding board, which has brought together the community and other interested parties, welcomed the latest step.
He said: "The masterplan for the Fountainbridge site has been 10 years in the making, with a level of community input very rarely achieved in developments of this type.
"Now we are at the delivery end it's vital that the chosen partner understands all the expectations that are placed on the site, from being a model of sustainability, to high quality public spaces, genuinely affordable housing and a home to a thriving local economy, and all in a unique canalside setting. The potential is huge – it's all now about making it real."