Community campaigners showcase alternative plans to ‘save’ Leith Walk

How the block could look if it is saved from the proposed demolition

A grassroots campaign working to save the two storey sandstone block on Leith Walk has unveiled its own vision of how the block could be developed rather than demolished.

Last week developer Drum Property Group submitted revised design proposals in support of its planning application to transform the Stead’s Place site, reducing the development by one storey to keep the height of the building in line with the surrounding traditional tenement building.

Drum’s £50 million proposal for the 2.9-acre site is for a mixed-used scheme combining affordable housing for local people and 471 flats for post-graduate student accommodation – as well as a hotel, restaurant, café and retail units.

However, the Save Leith Walk campaign, formed in March to stop Drum’s plans, said revisions do not change the nature of the proposed development and urged people to register objections with the council.

The campaigners want to save the historic two storey sandstone block at 106-154 Leith Walk - home to independent shops, businesses and the Leith Depot bar and music venue - which they claim is in danger of demolition if the planning application is granted.

Drum’s latest plans for Stead’s Place shows a height reduction of one storey

A spokesperson said: “The response from the local community to Drum’s proposed scheme has been a resounding thumbs down. The revised proposal would still see the block demolished and it does nothing to address the deep-seated concerns felt by local people that this scheme is completely out of character for the conservation area.

“The community has come up with its own vision which would retain the existing block, support independent businesses and incorporate more social and affordable housing in a manner which would strengthen Leith as a diverse, vibrant place.”

The campaign has received widespread backing from residents and businesses. High profile figures such as The Proclaimers, the Young Fathers, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey, MSPs such as Ben Macpherson, local councillors and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh fear that the proposed demolition and development threatens Leith’s unique character and heritage. There are also growing concerns that, if it is approved, the development will give a green light to similar private developments across the city.

The plans are available to view on the council’s planning portal.

The council’s planning committee is expected to give its recommendations regarding the planning application at the end of January 2019.

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