New plans submitted for controversial Leith Walk development

Drum Property Group has submitted revised plans for their controversial development on Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

New Start recently reported on the proposal, which has provoked a fierce reaction from the local community.

Drum, in partnership with Places for People and The University of Edinburgh, hope to demolish a two storey 1930s sandstone row of buildings to create postgraduate student accommodation with 500 beds, as well as building a hotel, new retail spaces and 53 ‘affordable’ homes.

Drum has said that current tenants will be offered the right of return, but campaigners are concerned that due to the sizes of the units, which are larger than what is currently there, the only businesses able to afford the rents will be large multinationals.

Graeme Bone, group managing director of Drum, said: ‘We have listened to the often passionate views of the local traders and community and we understand the importance of maintaining a distinctive and independent feel for this important stretch of Leith Walk – whilst bringing a bold, modern development for a confident and diverse Leith.

‘The existing buildings at Stead’s Place are no longer an economically viable investment and we propose to invest £50m in a new mixed-use development when all of the existing tenants move out and the site is completely vacant in 2019.

‘Our proposals will bring an added dimension to Leith Walk, opening up what is currently an inhospitable industrial site by creating a vibrant, contemporary and accessible community for residents and visitors alike.’

It was recently announced that existing tenants – charity Sikh Sanjog and its affiliated community enterprise the Punjabi Junction café – have recently confirmed they will return to the new development on completion.

Hilary Jones, trustee of Sikh Sanjog, said: ‘Working in the existing building, we appreciate better than most that it requires modernising and redevelopment – and we are keen to return to brand new premises after relocating for a couple of years.’

Pete Mason, part-owner of music venue Leith Depot, told New Start that Drum’s plans were ‘atrocious’.

‘We can’t shut down for two years and move back in again.

‘They said they will include a music venue but it will have nothing to do with us.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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