Edinburgh's Granton waterfront: new homes in first major development will be ready later this year

It will eventually become home to around 8,000 people and include 3,500 net-zero flats and houses, a primary school, health centre, commercial and cultural space and a new seafront park.
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The £1.3 billion regeneration of Granton waterfront will, over the next decade, transform what was once a largely industrial area dominated by the gasworks into a new community the size of the New Town and a model for environmentally-friendly development.

But work is already under way on several parts of the project and homes in the first major part of the development will be completed later this year.

Granton waterfront will boast Scotland's biggest publicly-owned parkGranton waterfront will boast Scotland's biggest publicly-owned park
Granton waterfront will boast Scotland's biggest publicly-owned park
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"It's a ten-year plan but it's starting now," says Cammy Day, Labour councillor for the area and deputy council leader.

A £4.75m restoration of the former Caroline Park railway station is already under way, creating studio spaces for local community start-up businesses. There will also be a new public square in front of the building for pop-up events and recreation.

Foundations are going in for the Western Villages site – Scotland's largest "net zero" housing development – which will see over 400 new homes built.

There will be a special emphasis on pedestrian and cycle links, electrical car charging and public transport. The homes will have low-carbon heating and renewable technology.

There may be a competition to decide the future of Granton's gas tower.  Pic Ian RutherfordThere may be a competition to decide the future of Granton's gas tower.  Pic Ian Rutherford
There may be a competition to decide the future of Granton's gas tower. Pic Ian Rutherford
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"In six months or so these houses will be up," says Cllr Day.

And the UK government has given £16.5m towards redevelopment of the 140ft-high, B-listed gas tower, which dates back to 1898 and is currently lit up as a beacon symbolising Granton's readiness to do business.

Cllr Day expects the tower will have to be dismantled, taken away for refurbishment and put back up, with a competition of some sort to decide what future it should have. Similar structures elsewhere in the world have been renovated as music venues or even flats.

There is currently a funding shortfall for the regeneration project as a whole, but Cllr Day says it is not an issue causing major concern to the council.

The station is being refurbished as studio spaces for start-ups.   Picture: Lisa FergusonThe station is being refurbished as studio spaces for start-ups.   Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The station is being refurbished as studio spaces for start-ups. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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"The council does not yet have the allocated funding to do all we want to do. So there will be different options – we'll reduce costs in places, we'll look for additional grant support from the government and we're writing to the Scottish Government."

Some of the money may also be raised by parcelling off portions of the land to developers.

"We might sell patches of land off but we control the masterplan for the area, so even if developers buy land from us they still need to build the houses the way we want it developed."

The National Galleries of Scotland have plans for a new facility, to be called The Art Works, which will be open to the public.

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And the National Museums of Scotland have also signalled plans to make their existing collection centre in Granton more accessible.

Cllr Day believes the wide-ranging redevelopment will put Granton firmly on the map.

"It's the biggest public sector regeneration project in the UK. It will create the largest publicly-owned greenspace park in Scotland when we develop all along Gypsy Brae into Granton and as well as the 3,000-4,000 new homes, it will create a cultural quarter for the city with the new National Galleries development and bring some life and excitement to the former industrial Granton."

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