Milestone reached on £1.3 billion Granton Waterfront project

THE bell that floated up as water filled the historic Granton Waterfront gasholder has been taken apart to make way for work to begin on the restoration of the structure’s frame.

The City of Edinburgh Council plans to open up the gasholder to create a multi-functional public space as part of the wider £1.3 billion project to create a sustainable coastal town at Granton Waterfront.

McLaughlin & Harvey began work on the site in January on behalf of the council using £16.4 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. The Scottish Government has also provided an additional £1.2 million to provide a high quality public park within the gasholder frame.

The space within the restored gasholder is to have multi-sensory play zones, a dedicated space for permanent and temporary public art, a relaxation area, outdoor trails and tracks for exercise as well as a large outdoor space for sports, markets, seasonal events, community use, festivals, performance arts, exhibitions and play. Work will also be carried out to plant trees, shrubs and wildflowers improving biodiversity and local habitat in the area.

The City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day said, “It was really dramatic to see the bell being ripped apart by the machinery. It marked a historic moment as this iconic structure will be transformed now to move on with the times to serve a completely different purpose for the local community to enjoy arts, sports and culture for future generations to come. Now the bell has gone the contractor can get on with the exciting work to transform the frame back to its original glory which will be seen for miles around.

“The scale and ambition of the gasholder nicely mirrors that of this £1.3 billion regeneration project where we are using brownfield land to build a new sustainable 20-minute neighbourhood which is well linked to surrounding communities and is somewhere residents will be proud to live. We’ve already started building some of the thousands of environmentally friendly affordable homes planned and active travel routes, along with recently completing the restoration of the former Granton Station building to become a modern workplace and cultural hub, with public square.”

Seamus Devlin, McLaughlin & Harvey civil engineering director, added, “McLaughlin & Harvey is delighted to be main contractor for the restoration works at Granton gasholder. We bring with us a wealth of experience in the civil engineering sector, and look forward to completing the deconstruction of the bell this week and the removal of the walls in the upcoming weeks.”