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Construction begins on more Edinburgh student housing

Urban Realm - 13th March, 2014

Ogilvie Construction has begun work on an £11m student accommodation block in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge district on behalf of The Student Housing Company as part of an ongoing master plan for the area.

Arran House will accommodate 302 apartments along with ground floor retail space and includes construction of a new junction off the Western Approach Road to cater for the build.

Designed by Paul Welsh Architects on behalf of CWP the scheme incorporates areas of light and dark brickwork signifying both studio and living spaces and bedroom clusters respectively, with an enclosed courtyard to the rear.

The accommodation is scheduled for completion in 2015.


1,222 Posts
Discussion Starter #43
St Mark's Quay looking quite sharp in the sunshine

The Boroughmuir High School site being cleared

Not sure what, if anything, is going on here

Signs of activity, but not much to actually see at the Arran House site

11,444 Posts
Fountainbridge brewery canal site to get revamp

Edinburgh Evening News - 31st March, 2014

Plans to transform a former brewery site into a vibrant area to “shop, work, stay and play” have been unveiled to the public.

If approved, the regeneration project at Fountainbridge will dramatically change the landscape of the area.

The site, just off Dundee Street and along from the Fountain Park leisure complex, has been lying empty since the McEwan’s Fountain Brewery closed in 2004.

Residents flocked to Central Hall at Tollcross to view plans for a “new city neighbourhood” on the 8.2 acres just north of the Union Canal.

The ambitious blueprint, tabled by property development firm EDI Group, will be submitted to Edinburgh City Council for planning permission in principle in May.

The masterplan, informed by residents who took part in a series of workshops, includes plans for 340 new homes.

It is estimated that 1400 jobs will be created at the development’s retail units and business areas, in addition to local construction jobs.

The canalside area will also be “enhanced” for leisure activities, with EDI Group already in talks with Calder-based social enterprise Bridge 8, which promotes outdoor activities along the Union Canal.

The complex will be next door to the new Boroughmuir High, which is due to open in August 2016.

Before the development is complete, the site will be promoted for events and other activities.

The Grove Community Garden project has also been launched to take plots for allotments.

The proposals include plans to provide incubator space to new business start-ups which can then move in to permanent units elsewhere on the site.

Preparatory work to plant trees and greenery has already been carried out at the vast area, which has been hidden by large screens.

The fencing will be removed in the next few weeks, giving pedestrians the chance to take shortcuts through the area.

Lynn Smith, senior development manager at EDI Group, said she was delighted with the community response so far.

“There have been some squeals of delight – it’s so positive,” she said. “It’s really gathering momentum.”

Bruntsfield resident Graham Whyte said the proposals were an “interesting concept”. He said: “Something has to be done with it and it should be a great asset once it’s done.”

Pat Ferguson, who lives by the Quayside basin, said: “If it all goes according to what we see, it’s very exciting. But it’s taken a long time so far, so we just have to hope that there’s no more hiccups like 

The application for planning permission in principle is expected to be considered in the autumn.

The proposals are now available to view at Fountainbridge Library, Dundee Street, until Friday, April 11.

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Basically a rehash of the above article, but with a couple of new images.

Fountainbridge to be transformed with urban beach and gardens

STV Edinburgh - 31st March, 2014

Edinburgh residents are being asked to give their views on new plans to transform a long-standing brownfield site in the Fountainbridge area of the city.

Images produced by the developer, council-owned EDI Group, show a mixed-use development is proposed for the 8.5 acre site, with space allocated for homes, offices and hotels. The graphics show water features that extend into the main public spaces on the site, with a large outdoor screen on the wall of one building.

The developers also outline a series of possible temporary uses for the site over the coming months whilst the proposals go through the planning system.

They include bringing back the NoFit State Circus big top over the summer festival season, as well as a temporary hotel, an outdoor vintage market, extended temporary green spaces, and even an urban beach.

In fact, the community group who manage the current Grove Community Garden group have already announced that they've signed the lease for the Grove 2 garden on part of the brownfield site close to the canal.

Lynn Smith, Senior Development Manager for the group explained: "What we're doing at the moment is the pre-application consultation. If approved, these proposals will bring major regeneration to the Fountainbridge area and will help secure economic, civic and financial benefits for the city.

"The aim is to create a high quality mixed-use development at Fountainbridge which will include retail, housing, leisure and community uses."

The outline plans are the outcome of a series of ‘masterplanning’ sessions held with local community members and are said to demonstrate "the vision behind the proposals which seek to create a vibrant, resilient community, with space to relax, work and live."

There is a public exhibition of the plans at Fountainbridge Library, 137 Dundee Street, which is open now and runs until April 11.

11,444 Posts
Good to see some action here. Walk through it regularly - bit of an eyesore as stands.

Whats the verdict so far Ken?
Personally, I think it looks promising. There's a very active local group, the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative (FCI), which was set up to work with the developers. As far as I can tell, their response to the current masterplan is mixed and while broadly supportive of a lot of the development their main complaints seem to be:

Not enough housing. FCI suggested at least 500 homes, while the masterplan proposes only 340.

Some skepticism about how committed the Filmhouse are to relocating to the site, and what will happen to that canalside plot if it doesn't happen. Plus more detail on what the broader 'Creative Quarter' concept will actually consist of.

Concern over the current lack of building design guidelines.

A failure to create new operational waterspace on the canal, favouring the creation of a new basin or a significantly enlarged existing basin, with space for at least 15-20 boats.

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A few snippets about the proposed relocation of Edinburgh Printmakers to the former North British Rubber Company headquarters at Fountainbridge. Very excited about this - I think it could be something special.

From April 2014's Invest Edinburgh

At Fountainbridge, Edinburgh Printmakers is working to transform the disused former North British Rubber Company factory into a world-class arts space. The organisation is in the process of applying for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its plans, which include sculpture, textile and screenprint studios; offices for digital creative businesses; exhibition space; a café; and a retail outlet showcasing arts and crafts created by Edinburgh artists.

“We want to look at public realm and see how the space can interact with and engage local groups and schools in the heritage story of the surrounding community,” says Sarah Price, chief executive of Edinburgh Printmakers.

It is hoped that the building could be restored as a unique community asset by 2018.
More detail from the Edinburgh Printmakers website.

Edinburgh Printmakers Capital Expansion

With the support of an HLF Start Up Grant, funding from The Architectural Heritage Fund and the Craigneish Fund, Edinburgh Printmakers have successfully completed a Round 1 application to Heritage Lottery Enterprise in the region of five million pounds. The bid builds on the successful application to Creative Scotland in 2012 for one million seven hundred thousand for a World Class Centre of Excellence in Contemporary Printmaking.

The proposed project is to redevelop the former North British Rubber Company headquarters in Fountainbridge, more recently the offices of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, this sizeable building of 2000m2 is set to have a new lease of life. With investment sought of over £6 million to be spent on conservation of the building, the project aims to save the heritage, to bring the former status, as an internationally significant centre for industrial production back to life as a significant centre for cultural production and enjoyment of the arts.

Edinburgh Printmakers plans will enable badly needed expansion of printmaking studio areas and a purpose built education facility. The new home for printmaking will provide the latest digital printmaking facilities including 3d printmaking and laser cutting. New processes such as textile printing are being introduced to support the creative practice of a broad range of creative practitioners and compliment the established provision in lithography, etching, screenprinting and relief printing specialisms.

Part of the building will be converted into artists studios and part made available to creative enterprises as office accommodation creating an environment for innovation and creativity. The project places creative enterprise at the heart of it's strategy for long term success with ambitious plans for a more commercial retail area selling distinct artist and designer homewares, artworks and contemporary crafts.

Situated a stones throw from the Edinburgh Union Canal and the recently redeveloped canal basin at Fountain Quay, the new development will make an inviting visitor attraction. The plans include a uniquely designed artisan cafe bar offering sumptuous home baking and coffee by day and a lively bar at night where musicians, poets, writers and speakers will perform.

With plans to build an exemplar world class gallery for the exhibition of International contemporary art in print alongside a gallery dedicated to showcasing leading Scottish artists, it is hoped the numbers of people choosing to visit the centre will soar.

For now, Edinburgh Printmakers eagerly await a positive outcome from the Heritage Lottery Fund assessment panel in London to progress with the plans to develop the site. If successful the fascinating story of the historic Rubber Mill that influenced the development of large areas of the city will begin to unfold in a programme of artist led projects exploring the history of the site. Edinburgh Printmakers hope to work across the community with groups of all ages and interests to involve them in projects that explore the forgotten heritage of this once significant industrial heart of the capital city.
And finally, from project architects, Oliver Chapman Architects.

Edinburgh Printmakers
Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Printmakers have existed in quirky examples of Edinburgh’s limited remaining range of industrial buildings; the former fruitmarket adjoining Waverley Station, a communal washhouse (‘ a Steamie’) near Broughton and, pending acceptance of an imminent Heritage Lottery Fund Application, a former rubber boot factory in Fountainbridge. A pleasant sympathy exists between the productive labour that took place in these buildings and the artistic production processes involved in printmaking.

The characteristics of printmaking techniques lend themselves to abstract interpretation to help inform the architectural response to any intervention in their building.’ Impression, trace, figure, void’ are all terms commonly shared by architects and printmaker artists.

The former North British Rubber Company building in Fountainbridge, built from Niddrie brick in the late 19th Century and aggrandised in the Edwardian era, fulfilled its largest order to supply rubber boots for the troops in the First World War.

Our approach involves a small number of key interventions to maximise the potential of the existing space available. This will allow the organisation to offer more to its members and enable it to expand revenue earning activities. This involved identifying phases of refurbishment linked to the available funding bodies’ objectives.

The first phase involves repair to the fabric of the building to minimise heat loss and the installation of lower carbon methods of providing heat and hot water. The second phase resolves accessibility problems with a new lift and stairs, a new open plan office area, 2 new gallery spaces and a cafe to enhance the public experience of the building. A third phase extends the occupation of the basement right to the rear of the building, expanding the capacity for new workshop areas and digital printing.


235 Posts
Urban Realm article:£5m_HLF_grant.html

Former Edinburgh rubber works secures £5m HLF grant

Former Edinburgh rubber works secures £5m HLF grant The former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company, inventors of the humble Wellington boot, car tyre and traffic cone, is to be transformed into a print-making facility and creative enterprises hub after securing a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Castle Mills in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge district had been under threat of demolition but will now be fully renovated by Oliver Chapman Architects to make it suitable for its new role as a base for Edinburgh Printmakers.

Work to the property will be carried out in phases and includes repair of the external fabric to improve insulation and the creation of new open plan floorplates internally with lift and stairwell access.

HLF head Colin McLean said: “Castle Mills was once at the heart of a thriving community but now stands empty and neglected and whilst much-loved, its restoration presents huge financial challenges. We are delighted to be able to help unlock its potential so that it can once again be a centre for new ideas and productivity and a catalyst in the regeneration of Fountainbridge.”

Built between 1856 and 1897 the factory is the last physical reminder of the area’s industrial heritage and had been languishing on the Buildings at Risk register prior to today’s announcement.

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John McLellan: Plans float my boat

Edinburgh Evening News - 4th April, 2014

One of the most interesting plans to bite the dust in the banking crash was the extension to the canal at Fountainbridge.

Shiny new flats were to overlook a new stretch of water behind Tollcross Primary School, but instead the site is now being taken up by new student accommodation.

A hint of what might have been is contained in the newly unveiled masterplan for the 11.5 acre brewery and rubber works site on the other side of the basin, with a narrow strip of water running from the canal edge to within splashing distance of Dundee Street.

Indeed the architect’s drawings show kids (and a mum for some reason) paddling about in an optimistically busy streetscape. It’s hardly Venice, but it’s a nice touch and it’s a shame more of the canal basin isn’t extended like this to make the most of what would be a very different quarter to anywhere else in the city.

Few will be aware that the canal originally went round to Morrison Street and Lothian Road, finishing at what was known as Port Hopetoun.

With railways replacing canals for freight transport, the nearby Caledonian goods yards meant it became virtually redundant and Port Hopetoun was closed in 1922, the Odeon cinema now marking the spot.

Fast forward 80 years and it was Scottish and Newcastle’s turn to shut up shop in Fountainbridge and there was a very different vision for the area – as old manufacturing industry moved out the new global industry of financial services was all set to move in.

This was to be the world headquarters of Halifax Bank of Scotland, which would consolidate scores of offices across the Capital into one urban banking village to rival the home of its great competitor RBS at Gogar.

But badly (and ironically) exposed to wild speculative investments as the global crisis gathered pace, HBoS collapsed before the first shovel could be turned. With the exception of a travelling Festival circus, it has lain empty ever since.

No-one, least of all me, objected to the HBoS plan, but from a look at the plans now on display at the Dundee Street library what could take its place cannot but enhance the district.

A reworking of a previous Allan Murray vision, with shops, flats and community facilities down one side of the water between Viewforth and the Lochrin basin, it’s certainly big but local reaction seems positive so far.

In fairness there isn’t much that looks threatening in the proposals, although that usually causes trouble too because the designers haven’t come up with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. And if they do there’s usually trouble anyway.

It’s nowhere near the middle of town so the Unesco World Heritage card can’t be played, there is no high-rise (although there is one tower-like thing poking up near the Leamington Lift Bridge which will attract attention), and no hint so far of fantoosh hotel so the anti-capitalism radar has yet to be activated.

Perhaps because the scheme is the work of the city council’s arm’s length development company EDI, the design description sounds like something straight out of the Save Our Old Town play book.

According to their architects 7N, the plan is “celebrating access to the canal, as well as creating more city centre homes, places to work and places for culture and enjoyment.” What’s not to like? It’s a veritable Shangri-La on the Union Canal.

At its heart is what’s left of the North British Rubber Company’s plant, which once employed a staggering 8000 people and churned out 1.2 million Wellington boots during the First World War for troops in the trenches.

And a newly announced £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help turn the offices behind the old main entrance offices into a creative arts and print-making centre and break up the uniformity of steel and 

The scale of change in this part of the city in the last 20 years is not quite as dramatic as the Waterfront, but it is significant nonetheless. Yet I can’t help but feel that the future pupils of Boroughmuir High School are being short-changed with their much-needed new premises being built on such a restricted site bewteen Viewforth and the newly-built flats.

And amidst all this modernism what is going to happen to the Kwik-Fit?

Also outwith the masterplan is the shell of St Kentigern’s Church facing the canal at Viewforth, last used for worship in the 40s and for which there was a plan four years ago to turn it into student flats and a restaurant.

It’s not unfair to call it an eyesore but the proposal met the kind of objections now being raised against more student accommodation in St Leonards. Surely it’s time for that to be revisited.

And so too should the suggestion of canal access at Yeaman Place be reviewed, having previously been rejected because of costs. Although access is now much better than it was when there was no towpath access between Viewforth and Harrison Park, it seems odd that with so much investment going into the canal that there are no steps at such an obvious place.

The city has had a canal strategy since 2011, some of which has been acted upon but significant elements remain on the drawing board, like the new rowing centre at Meggetland.

Here I must declare an interest because I am a canalside dweller. Intriguingly, the strategy looks like it contains a new boat mooring at the end of my garden, which is a bit like the council planning a caravan stop outside your front gate.

But not to worry, I like barges. Better than the house-breakers known to skulk around our way.

As for the Fountainbridge scheme, the plans are on display for another week, or you can see them on the 7N website and then the consultation can begin in earnest.

Will it be plain sailing? Somehow I doubt it.

450 Posts
I like the idea of using the canal more as a feature, but does anyone know what they do to keep the water circulating, I'd imagine it would get pretty stagnant quickly since there is no through-flow.

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The display boards from the current consultation are up on the project's website.

Most of the images have already been posted here but it's worth a look.
Good find. One of the new masterplan images has been posted by Urban Realm.

Also found an interesting article about temporary reuse of the site prior to development - good work, EDI.

What’s happening at Fountainbridge?

Edinburgh Innertube Map - 3rd April, 2014

A partnership between EDI, City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust is seeing the site of the old Fountain Brewery, tucked away behind the big hoardings between the canal towpath and Dundee Street, being transformed as part of a temporary greening project, which aims to turn empty land into greenspace while it is waiting to be developed.

Some 230m of path is being built across the site to link the canal towpath, Dundee Street, Viewforth and Gilmore Place, together with a grass verge alongside the canal, and 1,380m2 of wildflower sowing.

The paths are being lined with 70 large planters with trees – a mixture of birch and hornbeam – with in the middle, a mound hosting a Scots pine and ten oak trees in a central square.

Where the path meets the canal, the next phase of the project will see a new temporary access built up to the canal towpath via an “art square”. The east of the plot is being transformed into temporary community gardens as an extension to the Grove Community Garden – an amazing community initiative offering growing plots to local residents.

The project is in conjunction with regeneration group EDI whose other projects include the redevelopment of Craigmillar and the Edinburgh Waterfront.

- See more at:

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New Boroughmuir High School given green light

City of Edinburgh Council - 9th April, 2014

Planning permission for the new Boroughmuir High School was granted today by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Development Management Sub Committee.

Plans for the canal-side site have been drawn up by Allan Murray Architects, and show the new building designed to house up to 1,165 pupils who are currently at the school’s Viewforth site - less than 500m away.

The school site is marked by the Union Canal to the south, Dundee Street to the north, and Viewforth to the east. The student residencies being built off Gibson Terrace for Napier University mark the western edge of the site.

The plans incorporate:

teaching areas arranged around a multi-functional ‘heart’, or atrium

traditional classrooms offering easy access to collaborative break out areas

enhanced facilities for physical activity and external learning, including a unique roof-top multi-use external games area

a new public park, along the canal’s north bank, next to the new school building. This will create a vibrant public space next to the waterway and towpath

Work is expected to start on the new school in summer 2014, with completion scheduled for summer 2016.

Education Convener Cllr Paul Godzik said: "Pupils, parents and teachers have been waiting a long time for a new school so I’m delighted that work can now start on the site.

"Boroughmuir has a first-class academic track record, and the focus is now firmly on delivering a new school that provides an equally impressive learning environment."

To find out more about the new plans for Boroughmuir High visit the project website.

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Plan for ‘floating classroom’ at Boroughmuir canal

Edinburgh Evening News - 11th April, 2014

A “floating classroom” is to be launched next to the new Boroughmuir High under radical plans being drawn up by canal architects.

Bosses at Scottish Canals have put together proposals for the construction of moorings next to the award-winning secondary school’s state-of-the-art campus on the former Fountain Brewery site.

They want to take advantage of the development’s canalside location and create a “floating education resource”.

Proposals for the pioneering facility – thought to be the first of its kind in Scotland and set be built alongside a new boat-launching site – are at an early stage, but they have already sparked excitement among the Capital’s watersport fans.

In an official response to the city council’s consultation on plans for a new school, leaders at Scottish Canals said the water-borne teaching spot would benefit pupils for generations to come.

Their submission states: “We would support the provision of moorings outside the school area to facilitate a floating education resource for the city.

“This would help to nurture understanding of the rich environment that the canal offers and help to bring the Curriculum for Excellence alive.”

Moves towards a floating classroom come after city planning chiefs rubber-stamped designs for Boroughmuir High’s new campus, which will house up to 1165 pupils.

Among the cutting-edge features which will be offered are a rooftop games area, multi-functional atrium and classrooms with quick access to collaborative “break-out” spaces.

Canoeists have welcomed proposals for a floating classroom and boating activities – but they urged the council and Scottish Canals to ensure members of the public are not squeezed out.

Alistair Riddell, secretary of the Forth Canoe Club, which previously expressed interest in delivering a “new joint facility” at the school’s Fountainbridge site, said: “I would hope that they take into account existing canal users but I’m happy to see use is being made of the space.”

City education bosses said they were open-minded about ideas aimed at maximising use of the new Boroughmuir’s location.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Boroughmuir has a first-class academic track record, and the focus is now firmly on delivering a new school that provides an equally impressive learning environment.

“We welcome discussion with Scottish Canals about how pupils in the city can make best use of this waterway in the future.”

Work on a replacement campus for Boroughmuir High – named Scottish state secondary of the year in 2012 – is set to get under way this summer, with the building due to open to pupils in 2016.

57 Posts
I like the idea of using the canal more as a feature, but does anyone know what they do to keep the water circulating, I'd imagine it would get pretty stagnant quickly since there is no through-flow.
Obviously you naturally have rain water and you also have the motion of boats on the canal disturbing the water. The Union Canal is a contour canal, which means it is at the same height for its whole length - either by following the natural contour, crossing valleys on aqueducts or tunneling under hills (the only locks are near the Falkirk Wheel).

This means it is possible to have an overflow on the Lin's Mill aqueduct that acts just like the overflow in your bath. If the level gets too high, the water simply goes through the overflow on the aqueduct and into the River Almond.

Equally if the water levels too low the canal is fed by Cobbinshaw Resevoir via the River Almond and a system of canal feeders (to take the water from the upstream River Almond due to the height difference where the canal actually crosses the river).
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