Residents look to maximise use of former brewery for new museum

Stan Reeves is a member of the Fountainbridge Community Initiative
Stan Reeves is a member of the Fountainbridge Community Initiative
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A Brewing museum on the site of one of Edinburgh’s most historic breweries would be created as part of a canal-side regeneration project being developed by local residents.

The Fountainbridge Community Initiative (FCI) has been working with Edinburgh Council on plans for the former Scottish & Newcastle brewery site.

McEwans Brewery Fountainbridge - Bottling hall - Beer bottling

McEwans Brewery Fountainbridge - Bottling hall - Beer bottling

The community pressure group wants to see the brownfield site used for “mixed development” and has been taking notes from European cities like Amsterdam and Milan as to how to maximise the area’s potential.

Among the suggestions put forward by the group are a flexible covered market space for food or art and craft markets, gardens and allotment spaces and a brewing museum or children’s science museum, with affordable housing also high up the list.

Stan Reeves of the FCI said: “These are just ideas at the moment, but we’re taking advice from people involved in a number of industries about what we could do with the space.

“For example, many people are keen on an extension to the water space like creating a new basin. But if we were to do that it would also need to be decided if it was for say, long canal boats or watersports?

“We have lots still to discuss, but we’ve got a meeting next month to which we have invited architects, town planners, developers and Historic Scotland, so hopefully that will give us a clearer idea of what is viable.”

Members of the FCI, along with city design leader Riccardo Marini and members of property developers EDI Edinburgh recently visited Glasgow to meet people involved in the regeneration of the city’s canals.

Stan continued: “You could fill the space up with one big hotel and then it’s gone. We want somewhere with an emphasis on public spaces, water space and small streets, where there are opportunities for cafes, bars and also places where people can work.”

Council leader and local ward member Councillor Andrew Burns said: “I’m pleased at the way in which the community, stakeholders and planners have been working together to achieve the best possible use of the land on the Fountainbridge site to benefit the community, the area and the city economy.”

The FCI has also obtained the support of The Glass-House Community Led Design, a national charity working to help people “make better buildings, spaces, homes and 
create inclusive and sustainable neighbourhoods.”

Sophia de Sousa, chief executive of The Glass-House Community Led Design, said: “Working collaboratively creates better places for people to live, work and play in.”