Fountainbridge regeneration preferred development partner to be approved

May 17, 2021

The City of Edinburgh Council’s flagship regeneration of a major brownfield site in Fountainbridge.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s flagship regeneration of a major brownfield site in Fountainbridge is to reach another major milestone.

This week (on 20 May 2021) agreement will be sought from councillors at the Finance and Resource Committee to appoint a development partner for the next stages of the project.

Following a competitive procurement process, it is recommended that the £1.1million contract for the pre-development services for the brownfield site be awarded to award-winning housebuilder Cruden Homes (East) Limited ahead of the full development starting in early 2022. During the pre-development, work will be carried out to prepare for construction, including finalising designs and selecting a net zero carbon energy solution for the entire site, contributing to the Council’s ambitious target to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

The masterplan for the site was approved in 2016 following an extensive programme of community consultation and regular engagement on proposals for the site has continued with the Fountainbridge Sounding Board, a forum bringing together the area’s key stakeholders.

The masterplan will enable the transformation of the site into a mix of uses including; new homes, offices, shops, social enterprise and community spaces knitted together by high quality public realm. The development will complement both the new Boroughmuir High School to the west and Vastint Hospitality’s “New Fountainbridge” development to the east.

The housing element of the development will see a total of 436 new homes built. This will comprise 113 homes for social rent, with over 10% wheelchair accessible, 64 homes for mid-market and market rent and 259 homes for private sale or rent.

Commercial, social enterprise, retail and community spaces will feature within both the affordable and private housing phases, along with a 100,000 square foot office building which will provide space for early-stage tech companies to “scale up”.

A cohesive, high quality public realm will create attractive new spaces to socialise on the banks of the Union Canal while a wide range of community benefits and fair work proposals will also be delivered. These will include a £100,000 community fund for projects to enhance the canal towpath, creating park, commissioning local arts projects, work experience placements and apprenticeship opportunities for Boroughmuir High School pupils and the long-term unemployed, and summer internships paying the Real Living Wage.

Councillor Rob Munn, Finance and Resource Convener, said:

An extensive process and strong scrutiny has gone into this procurement process to get us to this point. We’ll look to discuss this at committee next week and hope to agree that we have a pre-development partner in place that shares our vision while also offering us best value.

Since the purchase of this underused brownfield site, and the development of the new Boroughmuir High School, we now want to deliver more social and affordable housing and space for businesses, particularly creating space for the data driven and digital sectors that are so important to Edinburgh’s economic recovery.

It’s important that we build affordable homes across the city and in the areas that people want to live so it’s great that these homes are located so close to the city centre. The development will provide homes that are both cost effective to heat and wheelchair accessible and will be a mix of council housing and mid-market homes, which will be managed by the council’s Edinburgh Living.

 Councillor Joan Griffiths, Vice Convener, said:

Seeing our masterplan getting closer to becoming a reality is very exciting and I look forward to seeing the site start to take shape and realise our ambitions for Fountainbridge.

This development will bring a great regenerative feel to this area of the city and through the community benefits programme we have agreed as part of this development contract we also hope to bring new jobs and training opportunities for local people, offer opportunities for local artists while also enhancing existing public spaces in and around Fountainbridge.

The Council and its agreed development partner, alongside the local community will work together to finalise the plans for the area over the coming months. Thereafter construction on the site will commence subject to final agreement amongst the parties.

At the end of the pre-development period, should both parties wish to proceed, further Committee approvals will be sought to proceed to the construction phase.