Revised design framework for 1,600 homes at Western Harbour gains approval

A major redevelopment of the Western Harbour area of Leith including the delivery of around 1,600 new low cost rental homes has cleared a key planning hurdle.

A revised design framework (RDF) brought forward by site owner Forth Ports was unanimously approved yesterday by councillors on the development management sub committee of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Permission to build on the site was first granted in 2002, but a new masterplan was needed in order for construction to begin.

Designed by 7N Architects, Forth Ports said its vision of Western Harbour is to create a vibrant waterfront community which acts as the catalyst for a wider regeneration of the waterfront. The development proposals will deliver a residential led, mixed-use community with a new park, a proposed new primary school, shops and a waterfront promenade.

The company will now bring forward full plans by February – as original outline planning permission is due to expire next year.

Group chief executive Charles Hammond said: “We are pleased with the decision by City of Edinburgh Council to approve our Revised Design Framework for Western Harbour in Leith. Forth Ports and Rettie & Co. have been working together for over two years on these proposals that will result in the delivery of a community of 1600 mid-market rental home and park which should also create the setting for the new primary school for the area.

“Through our other recently completed developments at Harbour Point and Harbour Gateway, we know there is a great deal of demand from people looking for these mid rent homes and an opportunity to create a community. Our proposal represents a major boost for the Leith economy and for Edinburgh as a whole and we now hope for a positive outcome from the Scottish Ministers on the possible loan funding for this project.

“Work is well underway preparing a full planning application in readiness for submission before the end of February 2019.”

Cllr Maureen Childs, vice convener of the planning committee, said “the work that has been done on this has been exemplary” while committee convenor Cllr Neil Gardiner added “lots of good work gone in and it really does show the benefit of a spatial plan led system”.

Matthew Benson, director at Rettie & Co, which is acting as development managers on Western Harbour, said: “Today’s announcement marks a major milestone on the journey to create a managed Build to Rent community of critical mass in Scotland. This latest development could not have happened without close collaboration across the public and private sectors and we will now apply our collective energies to the implementation phase.”

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