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Latest blow to city music scene

Leith shops and bars facing demolition order

Leith Depot
Leith Depot: facing demolition

A row of shops and bars in Leith is facing closure after it emerged that the landlord wants to demolish the buildings for a housing and retail development.

The businesses include cafes, a charity shop and the Leith Depot which was reopened to popular acclaim after it replaced a bar once branded the worst in the city for disturbances.

Leith Depot revealed the plans in a note indicating that it would be opposing the plans.

It said: “We’ve recently been informed by our new landlord, who took over six weeks ago, that it is their intention to apply for planning permission to demolish the entire block where Leith Depot and many other businesses and studios are located.

“If planning gets approved the demolition will start in 2019 to build new housing and retail units.

“We will, of course, be objecting to their plans, but we realise they we are very small opposition.”

Leith Depot
Leith Depot: live music

Leith Depot was launched by Pete Mason, a former newspaper photographer, together with friends Julie Carty and Partrick Kavanagh.

They gutted the former Meridian pub – which at one stage banned more than 80 patrons and had its licence revoked. The three partners revamped the bar and introduced meals.

Leith Depot is now one of the few venues providing year-round music entertainment and regularly plays to full houses.

Neighbouring businesses include a Barnardo’s charity shop specialising in babywear and equipment, and two cafes.

Plans to redevelop the Leith Walk premises are the latest attempt to revitalise parts of the famous street that connects the heart of Leith with the east end of the city centre.

Spanish coffee house and bar Serrano Manchego, Origano pizzeria and Portuguese bakehouse Casa Amiga are among the new food and drink outlets that have helped gentrify the street.

It has also begun to attract corporate chains such as Starbucks and Sainsbury’s, though the businesses remain predominantly local and independent.

Two student blocks now occupy long-standing gap sites and affordable homes are being built off the former Shrub Lane.

The possible closure of the Leith Depot would be the latest in a growing number of city entertainment venues to shut down, including the Picture House and the Citrus Club, which recently announced it is closing after 26 years.

The Electric Circus is giving up its lease to allow the neighbouring Fruitmarket Gallery to expand.


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