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Old March 9th, 2017, 12:21 PM   #1
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Leith Walk Tramway Depot Redevelopment | Leith | U/C

Leith Tram Depot to become community hub

City of Edinburgh Council - 9th March 2017

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Part of the old tram depot on Leith Walk is to be brought back to life as a community and business hub, after a £1.3m funding injection from the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.

The regeneration project will breathe new life into the site, last used for trams 60 years ago, creating new jobs and training places. Capital grant funding of £750,000 for the project was announced by the Scottish Government today and a further £400,000 is being provided by the Council, which will enable work to start on-site this year.

The project will bring an ‘at risk’ listed building at the front of the site in Leith Walk back into long-term productive use. It will deliver vitally-needed flexible, affordable workspaces for early-stage businesses as well as providing space to create a temporary community services hub for the voluntary and public sectors.

The Out of the Blue (OOTB) community and arts development organisation will partner with the Council to manage the business units to provide usable community space for artists and entrepreneurs. The aim is to bring back the site into meaningful use by recycling and upgrading sea containers and providing them for creative space until long term plans for the site are secured.The units could include studios for artists and other creative entrepreneurs, a social enterprise café providing employment and training opportunities and a community arts education/ retail facility.

A street market using reconditioned wooden huts from the former German Christmas market will also animate Leith Walk creating a draw for residents and visitors alike.

Cllr Gavin Barrie, Economy Convener, said: “This is welcome funding from the Scottish Government and I am delighted that this project can now go ahead providing new jobs and training places for local people. The community hub will deliver vital services to people in Leith Walk and the wider Leith area, which is one of the most densely populated and fastest growing places in Scotland.

“The business units and street market will create a real buzz on Leith Walk and will address the critical shortage of space for artists and other creative entrepreneurs in Edinburgh.”

Kevin Stewart, Local Government Minister, said: “I am delighted that the Leith Walk area will benefit from this injection of funding and the exciting plans look certain to support the regeneration of the area.

“The 29 projects across the country, worth £25 million, will focus on a range of issues - from tackling social isolation to services to addressing health inequalities, educational attainment, supporting ex-offenders and boosting tourism. They are an excellent example of how national and local government are working together on shared priorities that benefit local communities.

“I’m also pleased to announce that Regeneration Capital Grant Funding funding has been confirmed until 2021 – and that a call for applications to the fund for 2018/19 will be made shortly.”
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Old March 9th, 2017, 12:56 PM   #2
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Always thought this would be a great place for the food market discussed on the other thread - both a permanent indoor market hall and a street food hall - plenty of space if the sheds can be fully restored. Add in an arty cinema/music space and some of the proposed workspaces and it could be pretty cool. Longer term the arches under the railway line adjacent have loads of potential (as does the proposed cycleway/leith bridge). The big NHS side looks like it could fit lots of parking too which is probably part of what a market needs if it's to be attractive to people.

This proposal sounds like an interesting starter for 10 to at least bring the site back into some use. Would like to see a much bolder plan for its longer term future though (and which takes account of the neighbouring sites/opportunities as well).
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Old March 9th, 2017, 02:29 PM   #3
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Always thought this would be a great place for the food market discussed on the other thread - both a permanent indoor market hall and a street food hall - plenty of space if the sheds can be fully restored. Add in an arty cinema/music space and some of the proposed workspaces and it could be pretty cool. Longer term the arches under the railway line adjacent have loads of potential (as does the proposed cycleway/leith bridge). The big NHS side looks like it could fit lots of parking too which is probably part of what a market needs if it's to be attractive to people.

This proposal sounds like an interesting starter for 10 to at least bring the site back into some use. Would like to see a much bolder plan for its longer term future though (and which takes account of the neighbouring sites/opportunities as well).
Couldn't agree more. Great vision for the wider site.

It's a huge potential area when you link the tram depot with the railway arches on Gordon st. 2 great entranceways as shop windows...

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.96...7i13312!8i6656

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.96...7i13312!8i6656

Add in a NY highline style park and ped/cycle link above the arches and a sexy bridge across Leith walk

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.96...7i13312!8i6656

...and you have an amazing cluster of spaces and development opportunities that I think could spur lots of related shop and workspace investment in the immediate environs, including on the opp side of Leith Walk where there's all those sheds off the old railway line.

Having lived in Camden and Kentish Town in the 90s, I saw the market grow in exactly this manner - and a raft of workspace and retail opportunities proliferate and lots of creative industry businesses take up quirky post industrial office conversions etc. It must have doubled in scale from what was already a big market.

Once catalysed, if the space is there, then I think things like this can gain momentum. Once a link exists to the Gordon st arches and one of them gets converted, then over time I can see the others selling up as people make them a decent offer. Once the arches start getting used then the roof and bridge starts getting seriously considered...etc etc.

Given the likelihood of arts/crafts/creative workspace and market operators losing out on posh or very central residential sites (eg Boroughmuir HS, Kings Stables Rd, Sick Kids Hospital...), a vision for a big, growing site like this could solve a lot of issues. Edinburgh Palette will lose their big office building at Meadowbank at some point and I really think this kind of development and the sectors it serves adds a lot to a city economy. For workers, residents and visitors.

This could possibly be my new 'most like to see in Edinburgh' fantasy...!
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Old March 9th, 2017, 07:48 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, I think the only building to be restored will be the listed Edinburgh Tramway offices on Leith Walk. It sounds as though the original depot buildings to the rear will be demolished which seems a great pity.

From today's EEN coverage:

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A forgotten former tram depot in Edinburgh is to be knocked down and replaced with old shipping containers for artists to work in. Studios, retail units, workshop space and a social enterprise cafe will also be created when the vast shed in Leith is demolished 60 years after it was last used for the city's original tram service.

[...]

The 10 sea containers will be brought into the site as soon as the old tram depot is demolished and are expected to be used funding is found to create modern buildings on the site.

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/heritage/art...eith-1-4387634
I assume there's an 'until' missing from that last sentence...

Here's the relevant section from the council's 2015 Supplementary Guidance for Leith Town Centre, which gives a good indication of how they see the site being redeveloped, which includes a significant amount of housing.

Quote:
Site A – 165 Leith Walk former depot including land to the north

The site and its current uses

The site includes a Council-owned B-listed building with a large derelict warehouse to the rear, previously a tram depot and more recently used as storage for construction of the Leith Programme. The two storey listed building has recently been leased for office space for a start up businesses. The northern half of the site comprises two related office blocks at 131-141 Leith Walk, Inchkeith House and Allander House, in use by NHS Lothian and its surface car park to the rear; and a further storage warehouse to the north, which has no frontage with the town centre, but takes its access from a narrow entrance way from Leith Walk.



Potential Future Uses

Any proposals for this site should explore the potential to accommodate the following uses:

• Appropriate town centre commercial units (Classes 1-3) to create an active frontage along Leith Walk that supports and benefits from the pavement widening and other public realm benefits of the Leith Programme.

• Creative industries and small business ‘incubator’ units. There is a recognised need for more small business space, particularly for the creative sector (see the findings in the Leith Creative cultural mapping research project and the Leith Economic Framework 2014).

• The space needs of the Community Planning Partners. This site presents the opportunity to co-locate key public services in the heart of the town centre, supporting Leith residents and providing an exemplar partnership centre. An initial feasibility study has been undertaken for accommodating a proposed ‘Leith Community Partnership Centre’ at 165 Leith Walk.

• Residential uses – the Housing Land Study (June 2014) identified the depot site as a ‘high’ probability for development with an indicative capacity of 100 units; while the northern section is identified as Leith Walk/Manderston St and given a ‘low’ probability for development, with an indicative capacity of 44 units. This is a highly accessible brownfield site and introducing residential uses here could be delivered to complement the other uses proposed above. Development Principles To guide its successful redevelopment, the following features and principles should be recognised and integrated into the site layout (see also Map 1 and extract below):

• The retention of the Listed Building, conserving and repairing its fabric and bringing it back into full use, including an area of civic space around the building to preserve and enhance its setting.

Development Principles

To guide its successful redevelopment, the following features and principles should be recognised and integrated into the site layout (see also Map 1 and extract below):

• The retention of the Listed Building, conserving and repairing its fabric and bringing it back into full use, including an area of civic space around the building to preserve and enhance its setting.

• Improved permeability across the site, and the opportunity to continue the street along Halmyre St. Vehicular access is proposed from Halmyre Street only for limited parking.

• Possible constraints on height – the sites lies within ‘Key View 9 Calton Hill monuments from north end of Constitution Street’ and Key View 11b Calton Hill across to Hub spire from Edinburgh Dock as identified in the Edinburgh Skyline Study.

• Increase the town centre activity along this section of Leith Walk. New ground floor shop units are required to create and continue the frontage

• Retain and improve the Leith Walk street trees.

• Explore the connections with the Leith ‘Green Bridge’ project, which is at an early feasibility study stage.
Good to see the Biomorphis Leaf Bridge name-checked. Fantastic project.

I totally agree with Prestonian and dadabouttown's ideas for the wider area - there are some great opportunities around the old rail infrastructure - and I've always thought the Mecca Bingo hall, formerly Leith's Capitol Cinema, also has huge potential. As one of the biggest cinemas of its day, it would be great to see it restored as a mid-sized music/performance venue.
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Old March 9th, 2017, 08:18 PM   #5
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Ah well. I shall live in hope. Out of the Blue's involvement and influence may hopefully alert CEC to the wider potential. You're right about that cinema/bingo hall's potential. It's huge.

There are many opportunities for housing but generally very few that afford the cluster of advantages and potential for the kind of market/workspace/arts hub this could grow into.

I love the idea of a real 'destination' located well down Leith Walk.
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Old March 9th, 2017, 08:37 PM   #6
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Time to write to the councillors I think this is an absolute waste of one the few buildings like this left in central Edinburgh.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 12:24 PM   #7
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Agree, an opportunity for something interesting, missed.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 05:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prestonian View Post
Time to write to the councillors I think this is an absolute waste of one the few buildings like this left in central Edinburgh.
I'm not sure if your familiar with De Hallen in Amsterdam but it's pretty close to your original suggestion for the site. It's a 'culture complex' created a few years ago out of a series of restored tram depot buildings, which were in a similar semi-derelict state as the current Leith depot. There's an indoor food market (Amsterdam's first surprisingly), restaurants, cinema, tv studios, boutique hotel, craft workshops, public library and more.

















I appreciate the restoration costs wouldn't be insignificant but to level the current buildings to make room for shipping containers as temporary accommodation for artists seems ridiculous. Preserve the tram sheds as a mini-De Hallen centered around creative industries, a covered produce market & food hall, and there'd still be space on the cleared area and government storage building land to build a decent number of affordable homes and the NHS Partnership Centre.






Ex-Leith Tram Depot, Leith Walk, Leith (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr


Ex-Leith Tram Depot (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr


Inside of ex-Leith Tram Depot (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr
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Old March 11th, 2017, 11:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kenspeckle View Post
I'm not sure if your familiar with De Hallen in Amsterdam but it's pretty close to your original suggestion for the site. It's a 'culture complex' created a few years ago out of a series of restored tram depot buildings, which were in a similar semi-derelict state as the current Leith depot. There's an indoor food market (Amsterdam's first surprisingly), restaurants, cinema, tv studios, boutique hotel, craft workshops, public library and more.



































I appreciate the restoration costs wouldn't be insignificant but to level the current buildings to make room for shipping containers as temporary accommodation for artists seems ridiculous. Preserve the tram sheds as a mini-De Hallen centered around creative industries, a covered produce market & food hall, and there'd still be space on the cleared area and government storage building land to build a decent number of affordable homes and the NHS Partnership Centre.













Ex-Leith Tram Depot, Leith Walk, Leith (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr





Ex-Leith Tram Depot (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr





Inside of ex-Leith Tram Depot (David Dickson) by Kenneth G Williamson, on Flickr


Den Hallen actually one of my main sources of inspiration - went last year and it's a great place for the local community with a really successful mix of uses (if perhaps a little sterile in design for Leith which perhaps suits something a bit more edgy). Could certainly see a film/gallery/library/market/community space mix working for Leith.

Papirøen in Copenhagen is great too and has the sort of vibrant and casual approach which I think could work well in Leith. Papiroen also helps to build engagement in the danish food scene at all sorts of different levels and requires each stall to sell an accessibly priced dish. Really think we could do same with some of this space for Leith.

http://copenhagenstreetfood.dk/en/

I get really irritated that compared to our European neighbours our municipalities seem incapable of putting forward anything exciting for these sorts of sites. Would like to see what Will Alsop could come up with for a site like this and its neighbouring railway.....
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 07:49 PM   #10
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If I started a petition of the Council to stop the proposals to demolish the Leith tram depot would anyone here support/sign it? Like this post if you would! Ta
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 02:39 AM   #11
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If you do start a campaign, it might be worth getting in touch with the Edinburgh News. (if for no other reason than to read the comments section ). In all seriousness, as much as the paper is maligned, it would help with publicity. You might want to give them a link to the Amsterdam depot conversion too as to what could potentially be an alternative redevelopment.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 01:17 PM   #12
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That Amsterdam conversion need to be copied in every respect!!
This is exactly what Edinburgh needs, deserves, and apparently had space for all along!!
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 04:37 PM   #13
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I would be getting in touch with; Out Of The Blue, local MSP's and councillors too if you're really serious about starting this petition/advocating this different type of redevelopment.

Who knows, you could be bringing the Edinburgh forum it's 15 minutes of fame at the same time.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 06:46 PM   #14
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I would be getting in touch with; Out Of The Blue, local MSP's and councillors too if you're really serious about starting this petition/advocating this different type of redevelopment.

Who knows, you could be bringing the Edinburgh forum it's 15 minutes of fame at the same time.
I'd second that.
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Old March 24th, 2017, 01:12 AM   #15
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Best get writing some letters then!
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Old April 5th, 2017, 02:04 PM   #16
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Just came across this image on Twitter of an ECA student proposal for the Leith Tram Depot, although it only partially retains the original buildings.

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Old April 5th, 2017, 09:06 PM   #17
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Just came across this image on Twitter of an ECA student proposal for the Leith Tram Depot, although it only partially retains the original buildings.





Proves how much room there is for cross-subsidising development if you ask me....
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Old May 17th, 2017, 02:32 PM   #18
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A masterplan for the much-discussed of late former Leith Walk tram depot and surrounding site is a new addition on Reiach and Hall Architects web page.

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Central Site Edinburgh

Mixed use masterplan for derelict industrial site in Edinburgh

Gross Accommodation delivered circa 50,000m2 including civic, healthcare, residential, supported living and commercial












It looks as though a few remnants of the tram sheds survive in this vision (or maybe its just an homage?), though the Mecca Bingo/Capitol Cinema is entirely replaced, as well as building over the old elevated railway tracks. The density and mix of uses look great - if only they were to retain and repurpose those original buildings as part of the plan it could be something really special.
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Old May 19th, 2017, 04:05 PM   #19
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A masterplan for the much-discussed of late former Leith Walk tram depot and surrounding site is a new addition on Reiach and Hall Architects web page.
I'm conflicted. I like the rigour, it's seductive but... it could be anywhere. And greater reuse of what's there would be far more distinctive.
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Old May 19th, 2017, 06:51 PM   #20
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Hmm - better than I had feared but still would like to see at least some of the sheds retained. The architecture is also not terribly exciting. Do not like that clumsy block getting built over the arches in the renders!
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