Plans launched for ‘focal point’ of £200m North Edinburgh regeneration project

PLANS have been submitted for a new multi-use community hub at MacMillan Square as part of the £200 million regeneration of North Edinburgh.

Designed by Richard Murphy Architects, the hub is a joint vision by the capital’s council and North Edinburgh Arts (NEA). Plans show it will accommodate 185 children, a new library and will provide additional space for NEA.

The City of Edinburgh Council said that the hub will be the ‘focal point of one of the most significant’ urban regeneration projects in Scotland. Over £200 million of public and private sector investment has been committed to revitalising the area for the wider community and the investment has already delivered Craigroyston High School, Pennywell All Care Centre and over half of the expected 1,000 new homes.

Complementing the new library, early years centre and affordable housing, the hub will see arts and learning brought together under one roof in a ‘striking’ new building offering the community in North Edinburgh an ‘extensive’ range of services – including a new enterprise, workshop, learning and creative studio space, alongside an expanded café, youth area and shared atrium.

Allowing for further design and procurement, the council expects construction to start in early 2022 to complete mid-2023. Prior to this, enabling works will be carried out onsite including the demolition of the existing library.

The City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey, said, “The new building is an important part of the £200million regeneration of Pennywell and Muirhouse that’s already seen significant investment by the council and its partners, including Scottish Government to build new Council houses and affordable homes build a community with strong local facilities. Jointly led by the council and North Edinburgh Arts, this is a great example of community empowerment showing how great value can be added to an area.  It supports our landmark priorities as a council to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030, as well as enhancing wellbeing and equality for our residents.

“Key aspects include the new local library which we hope will act as a community living room, reaching out to everyone. The new building also creates the opportunity to work closely with the new nursery. To have as much interaction with the children, parents and staff as possible – providing tailored events and sessions especially for those using and working in the nursery.”

Chair of NEA, Lesley Hinds, added, “This new capital project will allow the organisation to flourish, alongside Council provision, and bring a first-class facility to Macmillan Square. NEA is a special place for the community of North Edinburgh and has been a trusted community anchor providing emergency food and support throughout the Covid lockdown. Completing the Community Asset Transfer is a big step on this exciting journey. The enthusiasm shown by our community has kept us going through some difficult times and we’re looking forward to building on this support to bring a truly inspirational place to the heart of Muirhouse.”