PLANS to revamp Muirhouse shopping centre have taken a “major” step forward after initial proposals were given the seal of approval.
City bosses want to transform the site into a mix of shops, restaurants and a “civic square” as part of the wider regeneration of Muirhouse and Pennywell.
The regeneration project, one of Scotland’s biggest, will also see the arrival of 700 new homes, on which construction has already begun.
It comes after the existing shopping centre – which currently includes 32 units and a vacant public house – shot to fame thanks to its appearance in the recent box office hit T2: Trainspotting.
Design consultants Barton Willmore have now secured planning permission in principle for the new centre on behalf of Robertson Regeneration.
Cammy Day, depute council leader and Forth ward councillor, said he was delighted at the news and paid tribute to the tireless work carried out by members of the community to help make it happen.
He said: “They have been working on this for the last couple of years so I am really pleased to see their hardworking efforts have come to fruition.
“It will have a whole range of new shops and it will also deliver additional affordable homes for the city. There’s a huge change from the old style of Muirhouse and I’m really pleased that local people are choosing to buy houses there and stay in that community.”
As part of the proposals many of the buildings around the existing shopping centre will be demolished to make way for the new modern facilities in an effort to further enhance the area’s regeneration.
The buildings will be replaced by three new urban blocks with retail and commercial units on the ground floor and a residential development above.
A fourth block is intended to be a ‘community’ hub building, which it is hoped will become the focal point around the civic square and provide much-needed services for the local community.
Each of the four blocks will be positioned around the civic square which will be a vehicle-free landscaped area with seating zones and shrubbery.
Katherine Mackintosh, of Robertson Regeneration, said: “Working with Barton Willmore, the design team and the community we have been able to design a centre that sits perfectly alongside the larger Pennywell regeneration project and will be a further asset to the local community, helping to promote a long-term sustainable community.”
Stuart Bishop, architecture director at Barton Willmore, said: “We have been involved in the regeneration of Pennywell and Muirhouse now for several years and the award of this further planning approval is a major step forward for the regeneration area.
“We are immensely proud of the wider proposals we have designed and the positive change that the community are experiencing within their neighbourhood.”