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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
As promised, a few photos:

Grove Street looking south


Fountainbridge looking towards the canal. The fencing is the bounday of the 'Freer Street' site


From Edinburgh Quay on Fountainbridge


Other side of the road from previous photo looking in the same direction


From Edinburgh Quay looking west


From the Union Canal looking towards Grove Street


From the Leamington Lift Bridge looking along the canal towards Lochrin Basin


from Leamington Bridge looking towards Fountainbridge


East side of Gilmore Park looking towards the canal


Same position looking towards Fountainbridge


West side of Gilmore Park looking towards the canal


Same position looking towards Viewforth


North British Rubber Factory building


From the Viewforth bridge looking towards the Leamington Bridge and Lochrin Basin


Viewforth bridge looking over Gilmore Park towards Fountainbridge


Viewforth bridge looking over the site of the proposed new marina across to 'Springside'


Looking across the Fountainbridge Community Garden, with the North British Rubber building at the right and Springside buildings at the left


Looking west across North Fountainbridge


North Fountainbridge from the Western Approach Road
 

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Great pics, Moschops. You really get an idea from these for how big this development will eventually be. It'll be great watching it develop.

Thought it might be worth comparing a couple of your pics with the visualisations (as I mentioned in my previous post, they are old but still indicative, I believe) for the next eastern phase - the angles are close enough to give a decent comparison.




 

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Just to add to the confusion of whose doing what and where, it looks like 7N Architects are currently developing a masterplan for the EDI site - so reworking the current AMA plan for this area?

Their masterplan area fills in the gap between the recently mentioned eastern parcel (designed by Michael Laird Architects) and the western parcel - the student residences and new Boroughmuir High School plot (designed by Allan Murray Architects).







As part of the council's recent Edinburgh Cultural Charette 7N drew up proposals for a relocated Filmhouse at Fountain Quay - between the Union Canal and the North British Rubber Factory offices / Edinburgh Printmakers Arts Hub.
 

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Fountainbridge

Urban Realm - 22nd July, 2013



The former Fountainbridge Brewery has been subject to a succession of stalled master plans and failed development proposals over the years but work to tackle the canalside site is now stepping up a gear. Here Leslie Howson of Urban Design Solutions brings us up to speed on the story so far and comments on what will soon be delivered.

In 2004 the Scottish & Newcastle Brewery in Fountainbridge closed. By 2011 demolition of the buildings on the site were complete and Edinburgh Quays, with Lochrin Basin retained at its heart, was constructed between 2003 and 2008.

In November 2004 the City of Edinburgh Council organised a community workshop, the outcome of which was the development brief from which later emerged the first master plan produced by Allan Murray Architects in conjunction with planning consultants GVA on behalf of Scottish & Newcastle - who still retained ownership of all the former brewery land.

The land was subsequently sold to the Lloyds Group though and three sites were later acquired by the City Council Children’s and Families Account.

In 2012 the City of Edinburgh Council announced that a new master plan was to be drawn up for these three areas of land included within which was to be a site for a new Boroughmuir High School. 7N Architects and Michael Laird Architects were to be appointed to the task of producing this new master plan which has yet to come to light. In the meantime development has continued.

At the western most part of the original brewery land, six to eight person student flats are nearing completion providing in all 770 bed spaces for Napier University.

For many local residents the sheer scale, massing and heights of the new flats, which rise in part to nine storeys, have had an unwelcome visual impact on the area not least those closest to them. Justification for some of the elevation treatment and material, such as the green sections of cladding, is questionable.

The first designs by Allan Murray Architects, have also been made public for the new Boroughmuir High School. Scheduled for opening in August 2016 the school will take 1165 pupils in a five storey simple rectilinear block which includes secure school controlled green space and rooftop multi games area. The building will front a 30m deep canalside linear park.

The proposals are open for public consultation until 12th July 2013.

With the main catchment area for the school being on the south side of the canal and the bridge footpaths being scarcely wide enough for current use, one assumes it will be necessary to provide either a new bndge fit for purpose, a widening of the existing bridge or a separate pedestrian bridge for the pupils to be able to cross safely. Another design challenge will be the matter of safety and security for the area between the school and the canalside.

On the plans now available in the design consultation brochure, the main entrance to the school entrance for public, pupils and staff is shown on the south viz. canalside, making the two aforementioned points more crucial still. Yet another evident challenge is that of getting public, pupils and staff from the bridge level and into the school. Entry seems likely to have to be at least one level above the canal if not two; at least that would take care of the safety and security to canal aspects.

A question one may ask is why when the Children’s and Families Account own the remaining several acres of still vacant land, is the school having to resort to recreation areas on the roof on the new building and why not at ground level?

For this remaining Children’s and Families Account owned land, no firm proposals have been put forward nor Planning applications submitted to date.

With so much land being in effect Edinburgh City Council owned, one would be hoping for a predominantly community orientated development with the school at its heart. Any proposals would need to be tempered by the adjacency of the sites to the canal corridor which suggests, indeed demands, provision for canal users (waterway and waterside) and thus for public access. The interface between these various uses is likely to be another key design challenges.

Most local residents would favour a proper housing mix and community/canal related uses adjacent to the canalside on this land. More bars and cafes along this stretch as a westward extension from the now somewhat sterile and under visited Lochrin Basin establishments is unlikely to gain local support nor be successful. The possibility of an arts hub, as aired in the press over recent months, would be too remote from the city centre if aimed at visitors and festival time though a local arts related centre with more of a community feel might have possibilities for success.

On the north side of the site lies the disused and boarded up former North British Rubber Works, a C listed building now on the City Council register of buildings under threat. This may now become the new home of the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop who will move from their current Union Street premises which they have outgrown.

However, the outcome is subject to agreement being reached over the sale or lease terms. Conversion and upgrading of this building for any such use will be a very expensive operation. There are one of two examples of similar conversions but their success relied heavily on Department for Education and EU development and Heritage Lottery funding The same may have to be the case for the former rubber works.

The final parcel of as yet undeveloped former brewery land is at the easterm end of the site and thought be be currently owned by Royal Bank of Scotland. Two recent planning applications have been submitted for this land, one proposing being for a new hotel on part of the site, the other for more residences and offices.

Seemingly, city planning are still hoping to see the basic elements of the Allan Murray master plan delivered with the new street alignments including the new Freer Street.

In particular they also wish the central water space to be retained as the hub of the whole development. Crucial to this happening at all is British Waterways involvement for it is they who will need to take ownership of this part of the proposals. There are also questions as to the relevance and feasibility of a new area of water space at this position. The only proposal with planning consent is for a triangular area of water, which some water users have stated is not the right size nor shape to provide for sufficient boats.

Clearly, any outward expansion of the canal now, to create additional water space will have the effect of re-directing the tow path off its current straight line or will necessitate ramped bridging or a lock type arrangement, either of which would be unsatisfactory. A water space which cuts deep into the development land will be expensive and may not be entertained by a would be developer. A simple sideways partial widening of the canal to provide chevron layout for barges might make more sense.

The possibility of opening up the old basin on the former Arnold Clark site, where the original retaining walls existed, would have a been a simpler and substantially cheaper option.

However, according to planning this idea was rejected by British Waterways. The site is currently being developed for yet more student flats but without additional water space which would have greatly enhance Lochrin Basin. Clearly the cost of a new water space as currently proposed, will be expensive owing to the large amount of ground retention required to cope with the fact of the site being well below the tow path level and on falling ground.

The availability of the Fountainbridge former brewery site presented an opportunity to create a unique waterside development in the heart of the capital. Whether the sum of all somewhat piecemeal developments will result in a masterly plan worthy of a capital city remains to be seen.
 

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Pupil power at heart of Union Canal bridge revamp

Edinburgh Evening News - 30th October, 2013



A historic landmark over the Union Canal will be revamped under plans to boost pupil access to a state-of-the-art replacement campus for Boroughmuir High.

City planners are looking at reducing traffic on the 113-year-old Viewforth Bridge while also widening its pavements to accommodate hundreds of pupils travelling to the school’s new premises when it opens on the site of the former Fountain Brewery in summer 2016.

New traffic lights will also be installed as city leaders inject around £125,000 to control vehicle flow in one of Edinburgh’s most congested areas ahead of the move by Boroughmuir’s 1100 pupils and 100 staff.

The plans have been welcomed by locals, who had expressed concern over pupil safety.

Mairianna Clyde, planning leader at Merchiston Community Council, said: “It’s to be welcomed – I’m sure parents will be very reassured that these improvements are taking place and that there’s been some thought given to how this is going to affect what will be lots of people.”

The bridge – built in 1900 and bearing intricate carvings of the arms of Edinburgh and Glasgow – is a key feature on the Capital’s section of the Union Canal and the planned revamp marks the waterway’s ongoing revitalisation as residents and businesses return to its banks.

City leaders are now drawing up an application for converting the bridge into a single carriageway, with detailed documents set to be submitted by the end of the year.

Councillor Gavin Corbett, Green member for Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart, said: “Reducing the Viewforth bridge road width to a single lane is definitely a step in the right direction, as it would increase space for pedestrians from what is currently a very narrow pavement and, with traffic lights in place, it would slow down cars which presently hurtle over the hump of the bridge down to Fountainbridge.”

City education chiefs said the planned changes were driven by the need to ensure pupil safety.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Traffic impact assessments have identified that these measures will not adversely affect traffic flow in the area.

“We will, of course, consult with local people on any proposed road design.”
 

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Fountain Quay

Urban Realm - 8th November, 2013



The latest phase of an ambitious master plan for Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge district, Fountain Quay, is now out to public consultation. Centred on the union canal it is a site of real potential, knitting together a broken piece of urban fabric, but do the plans match up to the city’s proud history? Here urban designer Leslie Howson brings us up to speed on the latest goings on and ponders how little we’ve learned since the days of James Craig’s New Town.

Since the article in the September 2013 issue of Urban Realm, progress with re development of the Fountainbridge former brewery site has continued apace.

Our readers will recall that land to the west part of the site has been allocated to student flats and to the new Boroughmuir High School. The former nearing completion and partially occupied, the latter presently passing through the planning process and due to commence on site in 2014.

The concentration of the City of Edinburgh Council, the master planners and the local community groups and community councils is now on the remainder of the land, extending from St Peters Place to Edinburgh Quay. This is the next important stage, as it sets out the master plan framework with the buildings and special strategy for what is surely the most important part of this unique (for Edinburgh) central canalside site and at a point of proximity to the canal and to the widest and most used section of towpaths.

Activity by way of planning submissions and community consultation with the master planners is now happening on two fronts. Proposals recently went on show to the general public in the form of an exhibition in tandem with a presentation to the local Merchiston Community Council, both events being organised by Michael Laird the master planners. This is all part of the mandatory community consultation stage, part of the pre planning submission process. These two events are intended to draw public views and gauge opinions about these proposals.

The presentations have been informative, covering all aspects of the proposals from site context (both local and city wide), to detailed drawings for the hotel site and include details of the planning application notices and public consultation intentions, the emerging master plan and framework for place making and the development context both as built and as proposed

This community consultation activity coincides with the submission of two pre planning application notices over recent months. The first seeks planning permission in principle for the master plan to ensure a co-ordinated, coherent approach to development in terms of form, public realm, uses, massing and height and to provide the context to support the second which is a detailed application for planning permission for a new apartment style hotel on the south east corner of the site closest to Lochrin basin.

Taking up approximately one third of the most easterly part of the as yet undeveloped part of the site, the second application proposes a canal side apartment style hotel with associated commercial and retail use with building heights taking the lead from the as built 7/9 storey high Edinburgh Quayside buildings. The remainder of this eastern part of the site is blocked out to show massing for offices, commercial and residential blocks back to Fountainbridge. The plans include proposals for pedestrian connectivity and public realm, including a new public square.

What the plans do not show is the detailed treatment of the canal side swathe of land allowed for in the currently approved master plan, a circa 30m wide zone which was to be retained along the frontage of the whole development; nor how it is to be landscaped and zoned for the various canal side and cal related activities and user groups.

Other than an outline of the basic framework on the plans, no firm proposals are as yet shown for the remaining two thirds of the site, to be known as `Fountain Quay`

However, progress is currently being made on the pre submission consultations stages for this land, with the EDI Group Limited, on behalf of council, hosting a series of master planning and place making workshops with the local community and other stakeholders.

These workshops are an opportunity for the community to meet with the project team and master planners and assert what they want to see Fountainbridge become. These community aspirations are set to contribute to establishment of a set of working principles for the site and to date include provision of additional water space, establishment of a canal side use strategy, creation of an inclusive community residential community, creation of pedestrian and cycle ways, provision of integrated workspace, considerations of heritage, integration with the surrounding communities and creation of a sustainable, mixed family type community.

This kind of community consultation is clearly an important part of the process to finalisation of proposals, though now only for Fountain Quay. The local communities of Tollcross, Merchiston and Fountainbridge, have come together to try to ensure this does not become simply a commercially developed site but that development provides something for the established communities.
They clearly want to see creation of a community in the true sense of the term, a balance of homes, local community facilities, room for small local and emerging businesses. They especially hope for an acknowledgement by way of design and land use of the valuable nature of the water space as a amenity, something as yet excluded from the current emerging master plan.

A critique

The master planning process, which began in 2004, has been long and slow. The timescale for building the school has been set for 2014. A programme for determination of the two current planning applications by mid 2014 has been drawn up with acceptability of the hotel and adjacent mix development subject to the consultation process and planners views. However, emergence of final proposals for the remainder of the site i.e. `Fountain quay` is likely to take some time.

The lack of a holistic approach is regrettable, with the modified master plan emerging somewhat piecemeal. Running proposals for the remaining as yet uncommitted land together on the same timescales in terms of pre consultations, workshops and planning submissions, would have allowed existing stakeholders to see the full vision and ensure a more fully integrated master plan. However, whilst the Fountain Quay site is owned by the council, the land to the east (subject of the two PANs) is separately owned by RBS - factors which are likely to be influencing the current overall programme for the as yet, uncommitted and undeveloped part of this former brewery site.
The key issues for the site, addressing the `opportunities and needs`, remain much as since the first council run workshops in 2004.

Recognition of this unique opportunity, a canal side site in the heart of the capital city, a chance to create a new kind of waterside residential mixed tenure community. The attraction and value of a site next to open water is obvious and the potential to expand that amenity is equally so, indeed desirable. Fountain Quay could still be the focal point for a different type of development, community based with urban mixed family social housing relating to the new Boroughmuir school at its heart, much as exist already in its present location.
The sites position within the city, its proximity to the city’s financial district, to its public transport interchanges and access to the west end are evident, as are the opportunities it offers for making connections by way of cycle and pedestrian routes.

The canalside itself is now a much used pedestrian and cycle artery into the city centre. The needs of the various user groups, especially associated with the water space activities need careful consideration by the master planners. It should not be a matter of `space left over after planning` but space designed with several purposes in mind, for boaters, walkers, cyclists, commuting and those who simply like to sit and watch the water and wildlife (the Union Canal is a designated wildlife corridor).

The interface between the new site developments, water space and public space between the two is critical. The master planners and architect need to be seen to be exploring options in terms of building lines, modulation of frontages, receding floor levels, open spaces, the hierarchy of spaces private semi private defensible, variety of architectural styles and materials, orientation for wind and sun and the enjoyment of the water amenity.

This is where the unique nature of the site can best be expressed in the relationship of a large linear water space to a parallel linear yet deep site. Provision of more flat water is very much desired by the local residential communities and boating fraternity. Expansion deep into this cross fall sloping site is unlikely to be economic owing to having to retain a huge volume of water. However, cutting into the current wide tow path would provide much usable water space minimizing the water retention costs. A new linear pathway could then be constructed effectively within the site suspended above underground parking or boat storage facilities. The very fact of this approach will help with sense of place the expanded water space in conjunction with perhaps a widening section of pathway will be come a focus for the Fountain Quay site.

There is room for dense yet low to medium rise housing of tenement scale. What the local populace want to see is a significant proportion of family housing and to create a balanced residential neighbourhood in the city centre.

Edinburgh owes its success as one of the most liveable European cities to its size, its inner connectivity and ease of access to facilities and to its walkability. However, in terms of its success as a place to live and work it is its polycentric nature which is of significance, not only in its nine towns but its many local sub centres / local quarters. This is no more so than in the areas of the city immediate to this site where historically people have lived and worked, shopped and were entertained and had access to churches and schools all on a local level. Times have changed as have retail habits, school are fewer and more centralised and most local industries like the brewery itself have gone.

Yet the legacy of this `localness` is still relevant and I think essential for sustainable urban living and I perceive what people in the immediate area are seeking for this site. They do not want more of the same on the Fountainbridge sites such as the expensive holiday let crash pads we see at Edinburgh Quay and yet more student flats. Visitors and students are essential to the economy of the city but do not contribute to the building of sustainable communities.

Critical, is the need to create a sense of place not as label but in the true sense by virtue of identity, the sense of arrival the centre of a place in this polycentric, complex and delightful city that is Edinburgh. There is also the sites heritage aspect to be considered but along with this the even more important issue of legacy.

In 1768 James Craig created a masterly plan for the first New Town. Both the plan and the buildings have proved highly sustainable. Part of sustainability is flexibility. The first new buildings have proved to be flexible, residences changing to offices then back to houses again, a central street (George Street) built for horse and carriage then coping with the car and public transport and now the venue for the erection of temporary theatres and restaurants during the festival. Private green space, namely the St Andrews Square and Charlotte Square gardens being opened up for public enjoyment and festival events. This is true sustainability. The Georgian buildings front the public thoroughfares in a variety of ways with clever devices to ensure both security and privacy; such as colonnades, steps, bridges across basements, raised entrances, solar shading, balconies and raised terraces. This is a plan which balances public space and buildings in a great interplay. A community with churches and shops and a variety of dwelling types from mews houses to grandiose terraces. A hierarchy of spaces private, semi private, private gardens and gardens used by the public. The New Town plan is permeable, it has vistas to the castle, to the sea, to its own landmark buildings, it has curving residential crescents with open spaces to match. Above all it is legible to the pedestrian.

The development proposals for the former brewery site at Fountainbridge have a long way to go yet to match Craig’s plan.

The student flats could change tenure but will never be family homes, the school which should be at the heart of any community is crammed onto its site when it could have been a spacious centrepiece, something for which Edinburgh schools are famous. Only now on the remaining sites is there a chance yet to create something special, a landmark development in residential urban living. Economics, land values and architectural styles of the day played a part in James Craig’s design but his urban design statement was followed through and the concept was carried though without degenerating into a piecemeal approach.

Whether any or all of these features are achieved and a fully harmonised and iconic development emerges at the Fountainbridge former brewery site remains to be seen. What is certain is that if this is not the case then the legacy will have fallen well short of the opportunity of creating a unique waterside urban place in Scotland`s capital city.
Apart hotel location plan


"Fountain Quay" location plan
 

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New Boroughmuir High School set to open in August 2016

STV Edinburgh - 12th December, 2013

The council is holding its monthly meeting just now. Education convenor Paul Godzik has just confirmed that funding and an opening date for a new £35m school in Fountainbridge has been agreed. It will be built on the gap site formerly occupied by the McEwan's Fountain Brewery and North British Rubber Company before that.
 

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Does anyone know about the development near Cargo. I believe it's called "St Marks Quay"? Will these apartments be available to buy or are they assisted living etc? Also is there a timeline in place? Thanks
 

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Does anyone know about the development near Cargo. I believe it's called "St Marks Quay"? Will these apartments be available to buy or are they assisted living etc? Also is there a timeline in place? Thanks
Welcome to the forum! The St Mark's Quay development has a few different components. A pair of small blocks providing affordable housing were completed a couple of years back. The large block nearing completion on the edge of Lochrin Basin is, I believe, intended for student accommodation, and was scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. The final element is a large block to the south which will be private residential - not sure what the timeframe is for that. There were a couple of posts earlier in this thread - somewhere on the first page, I think - which touched on this, with some visuals and photos, if you're interested.
 

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A Christmas present, courtesy of 7N Architects - some nice new visuals of their Fountainbridge masterplan.

This is for the mixed-use "middle site" owned by the council - sandwiched between the western parcel, masterplanned by Allan Murray Architects (student residences, new Boroughmuir High School), and the eastern parcel, masterplanned by Michael Laird Architects (office, residential, hotel).



From the architects:
The Fountainbridge project is a key initiative by the City of Edinburgh and their development company EDI to develop a pivotal, 11.5 acresite by the Union Canal.

Fountainbridge, former home to the North British Rubber Company, and more recently Scottish and Newcastle Brewery, has an interesting history as a site of city centre employment and industry. As the city has changed around it, it is now adjacent to Edinburgh's business and conference district as well as established central residential neighbourhoods. It presents an opportunity to create a successful, mixed-use part of Edinburgh, celebrating access to the canal, as well as creating more city centre homes, places to work and places for culture and enjoyment.

7N Architects are currently developing the masterplan for the site as an integrated placemaking and development strategy.


The four grey/blue blocks towards the righthand side of the above image fall within the Michael Laird Architects designed eastern parcel, and I think the farthest right of these (alongside the canal and shaped like an inverted "T") is the proposed site of the hotel. As far as I know this is the first indication of what the current masterplan for that end of the Fountainbridge development will look like.

I'm curious to know what the proposed use is for the triangular pink block. On the site plan it matches the key colour of the old North British Rubber Company offices, which is destined to be a new home and gallery for the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop. Assuming therefore that pink = arts/cultural use, my best guess is the large block is a relocated Filmhouse. From the perspective view below it certainly looks like quite a substantial building.







I think there's a lot to be positive about here - good density, a strong mix of uses, active frontages, and the public realm looks great (canalside treatment is promising and I like those water features cutting into the site). I'm really excited to see this develop.
 

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Strange 'tree of knowledge' artwork unveiled in Fountainbridge

STV Edinburgh - 16th January, 2014

This is the Tree of Knowledge. Its branches, welded together from metal pipes by artist Maja Quille, reference the Union Canal-side spot’s industrial boom of the 19th century. It's in the garden of Napier Uni's new student accommodation.
 

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I think this is the derelict building which is due to be demolished to make way for the new school.

Firefighters battling Fountainbridge fire

Edinburgh Evening News - 17th January, 2014



Around 50 firefighters are tackling a fire at a derelict building.

The blaze broke out at on the roof of the property in Dundee Street, Fountainbridge, at around midday.

There were reports that people in the area were advised to stay indoors over concerns that there may be burning asbestos in the building.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said five pumps, including a number of specialist appliances, were in attendance including two height appliances.
 

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These images recently appeared on Michael Laird Architects website, showing a proposed Fountainbridge South masterplan.













I'm not sure when this design dates from but these are obviously now redundant as they cover the western and central parcels, currently masterplanned by Allan Murray Architects and 7N Architects respectively (see earlier in this thread).

Ironically, the one part of Fountainbridge South this masterplan by Michael Laird Architects doesn't cover - the eastern parcel - in these images features the old Allan Murray Architects-designed Freer Street proposal, which has since been scrapped and will be replaced with a new masterplan by... Michael Laird Architects. It's hard to keep these revolving architects straight!
 

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Some updated images of the new Boroughmuir High School have appeared on Allan Murray Architects' website. Some tweaks to the building exterior and it looks like the triangular park separating it from the student residences has been sacrificed for a school playground - fair enough, I suppose.









 

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Does anyone know of any updates with the Masterplan? It's so hard to keep track of everything since it all seems so convoluted. It would be nice to see some work starting eventually! The progress at the Boroughmuir site has me longing for the rest of Fountainbridge to really emerge as an Edinburgh hotspot.
 

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Does anyone know of any updates with the Masterplan? It's so hard to keep track of everything since it all seems so convoluted. It would be nice to see some work starting eventually! The progress at the Boroughmuir site has me longing for the rest of Fountainbridge to really emerge as an Edinburgh hotspot.
The image below is the most up to date to my knowledge.

The western site is complete apart from the new Boroughmuir High School, as you mentioned (on the far left).

The eastern site (in grey) is owned by RBS and being masterplanned by Michael Laird Architects. Only outline pp has been applied for so far but it is known to comprise of two office blocks, a residential block and an aparthotel beside the canal. I believe the aparthotel will be developed first with a full application expected soon.

The remainder, and largest part, of the site is owned by EDI and being masterplanned by 7N Architects. They're holding the final public consultations on the masterplan in a couple of weeks with an application for planning permission to follow soon after. It will have the strongest mix of uses - around 400 homes, supermarket, canalside retail and restaurant units, office space, and arts development, including, potentially, a relocated Filmhouse (the pink triangular building).

 
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