Save Leith Walk: Property developers appeal Stead’s Place planning refusal decision

Artist impressions of the development.
Artist impressions of the development.
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Developers behind controversial plans to knock down a prominent part of Leith Walk to make way for student housing and a hotel have appealed a decision to unanimously refuse planning permission.

Drum Property Group lodged plans to demolish the red sandstone buildings at Stead’s Place to make way for a multi-storey mixed use development. The plans include a 56-bedroom hotel, student accommodation for 471 people, flats and a music venue to replace the Leith Depot – which is set to close its doors later this year.

Another artist's impression

Another artist's impression

In January, Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee unanimously refused planning permission after a lengthy hearing. The company has now lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government.

Graeme Bone, group managing director of Drum, said: “We remain wholly committed to developing the site and have always viewed the council’s decision as another step in what will be a long process.

“Since purchasing the site, we have worked hard to respond to the council’s own brief to bring new investment and development to this neglected part of Leith Walk. We submitted an innovative and high-quality proposal shaped by extensive consultation with local people, groups and businesses.  We received high levels of public support and our application was recommended for approval by the council’s own planning team.

“We therefore regard it as a natural and logical next step to submit an appeal to the Scottish Government.”

Planning officers had recommended approval but councillors rejected the proposals, citing a string of planning policies the committee believed had not been met. Councillors pointed in particular, to Drum’s failure to attempt to retain the iconic red sandstone building.

Campaign group Save Leith Walk fought against the application. Last month, the campaigners published alternative proposals for the Lieth Walk site – hoping a community bid could be launched if Drum decided to sell on the site.

A spokesperson said: “We are very surprised that Drum Property continue to pursue its attempt to demolish this valuable building and rob Leith of much-needed businesses and jobs. The developers have consistently ignored the views and aspirations of local people and their elected representatives from all political parties.

“Historic Environment Scotland recognise the building’s value.”