388-home Leith development given unanimous green light

How the homes will look from Ocean Terminal
How the homes will look from Ocean Terminal

Long-running plans have been approved to revitalise disused land opposite Leith’s Ocean Terminal with 388 new homes.

The ‘Waterfront Plaza’ proposals, which were strongly backed by local community and business leaders including Port of Leith Housing Association, were given the green light after councillors voted unanimously in favour at a planning hearing yesterday.

CALA Homes (East) is now hoping to begin construction of the 388 homes as early as summer 2018 with fist completions late summer 2019 – along with 1500sq.m of flexible workspace units similar to The Arches, Market Street.

As well as the major economic benefits and the creation of a public realm, a wide range of the local housing supply will be boosted, with 97 affordable homes also included in the plans.

Craig Lynes, land director at CALA Homes (East), said: “We are thrilled to have received the backing of councillors who recognised the importance of bringing much needed new homes to the area.

“This derelict site is well-known to local people and we hope to ensure that our plans bring a notable boost to the local economy and contribute to a vibrant community.

“We’ve also worked closely with the community and leading local figures to ensure that the commercial units the site will create are in keeping with demand - bringing opportunities designed around Leith’s leading creative industries.”

An aerial view of the proposed development
An aerial view of the proposed development

In the week leading up to the hearing at The City of Edinburgh Council development sub-committee, a joint-letter was issued on behalf of high-profile backers, including Port of Leith Housing Association, Leith Chamber of Commerce as well as Ocean Terminal and 41 of its businesses.

The letter “strongly urged” support for the residential-led proposals located on historically disused land opposite Ocean Terminal, citing the urgent need for new private and affordable homes and the huge potential boost to the local economy.

Further public backing came from local councillor Gordon Munro, who called the project a potential ‘catalyst’ for the regeneration of Leith - as well as the vocal support of Lord Provost Frank Ross, Gavin Barrie and John McLellan.

The amended plans present a range of apartments and family homes, to include 33 semi detached and terraced townhouses, 27 colonies, 328 apartments, plus 29 ground floor workspaces fronting Ocean Drive.

It is anticipated that an eclectic mix of ‘workspace’ units complimented with the proposed public realm, to include an urban square and public green space and café building fronting Victoria Dock at Waterfront Plaza will draw more visitors to the area and keep them there for longer, in line with local ambitions to increase the retention of visitors in Leith.

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