Drum secures planning consent for Leith Walk proposals

DRUM Property Group’s planning proposals for Leith Walk have been given the green light by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The firm’s plans for Stead’s Place, near the foot of Leith Walk, involve a major regeneration of a 2.9-acre site, which has been earmarked for development since 2008 and currently comprises mainly an aged industrial estate and office space, together with a two-storey sandstone building facing directly on to Leith Walk.

Drum will now replace the existing industrial units with 148 apartments, including 38 affordable homes, as part of a landscaped residential scheme. The sandstone building will be refurbished and made available for commercial occupation.

The planning consent is the culmination of four years of research, planning and community engagement by Drum since the company first purchased the site in 2017. The current proposal follows a six-month consultation programme with the local residential and business community, with almost three-quarters of those consulted either ‘supportive or neutral’ about the revised plans. The planning consent follows a previous application submitted by Drum in 2018.

Graeme Bone, group MD of Drum, said, “Drum has worked hard to ensure our current proposals are aligned with the objectives and plans of local community groups. We listened carefully to their views, enabling us to draw on the positive characteristics of the surrounding area to create a real sense of place that features a mix of private and affordable housing with a refurbished, vibrant and dynamic retail frontage facing Leith Walk.

“Our proposals will replace old and tired industrial, office and retail space with new, more flexible, higher quality accommodation for people to live, work, shop, eat, drink and to be entertained in – as well as opening up a safe and landscaped thoroughfare connecting Leith Walk to Pilrig Park. We believe we have responded directly to the objectives and vision the community has for the site. Our proposals now offer the optimum solution for all parties, providing a refurbished retail and office parade combined with a new community of housing to the rear, set in landscaped grounds, enhancing the area’s distinctive cultural feel and identity.”

Drum revealed it is now committed to ensuring the shop frontages on to Leith Walk retain the current individual style and size, reflecting the local small trader units at the site whilst refurbishing the office suites for rent on the first floor in a revamped business centre offering.

Mr Bone added, “By retaining and refurbishing the red sandstone buildings facing on to Leith Walk, we are also contributing to the wider regeneration of the local area, providing investment to create an attractive and distinctive destination and focal point which is needed now, more than ever, as the local area recovers from lockdown and the new tram works are progressed.

“Drum are now looking forward to building on the positive and productive relationships established over recent years to deliver a new development that continues the rich tradition of diversity, independence and interest which makes Leith Walk such an exciting destination in which to live, work and visit.”