Coastline regeneration hope
Cafe can be catalyst for change says MSP
The success of the Boardwalk Beach Club cafe could be a platform for regenerating the historic Cramond foreshore
A seafront cafe which has proved popular with dog walkers and cyclists is being promoted as the catalyst for a regeneration of a part of Edinburgh’s coastline.
The Boardwalk Beach Club opened on Marine Drive two years ago, turning a neglected former facility into a thriving stop-off for thousands of visitors.
Boasting stunning views across the Forth to Cramond Island, its owner Eddie Tait has long campaigned for the whole stretch of promenade to be developed into a bustling leisure destination which he believes would make it a magnet for locals and tourists.
He has now won backing from Alex Cole-Hamilton, the local Liberal Democrat MSP, who tabled a motion to the Scottish Parliament congratulating Mr Tait on receiving an award for the cafe. He hopes it can now capitalise on its popularity.
He said: “Eddie, his wife Sarah and their staff have almost single-handedly injected new life into that stretch of the waterfront.
“They have created a unique ambience and informal dining experience which is unparalleled in the city.
“Hopefully the award will go some way to putting the business on the map but it was already enjoying quite a significant following across Edinburgh and by word of mouth.”
The café’s name was inspired by architect Sir Terry Farrell’s vision of a ten-mile boardwalk along the shore between Cramond and Portobello.
Although those plans fell victim to the financial crash in 2008, Mr Tait hopes the idea can be revisited in some shape or form.
“The promenade is a wonderful asset for the city but was neglected for too long,” he said. “With the café’s stunning views across the beach to the Forth and Cramond Island, we like to think we have played our part in making it a more vibrant area for a lot of people.
“We have 50,000 likes on Facebook with more than 6 million views of our Facebook posts. Visitors are coming from all over including Glasgow and the Borders. Hopefully this is just the start for this area and we can all help make it great again.
“There are so many untold stories about its history such as its Roman links.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “I share Eddie’s vision to see that waterfront transformed to become a jewel in Edinburgh’s tourist crown with proper lighting, landscaping and a range of businesses to stretch along the coastal path from Cramond to Newhaven.”
Previously a rundown takeaway and coffee stall until its rebirth in 2016, the café is a regular haunt for joggers, families, cyclists and dog walkers. It also hosted the Sing In The City choir recently, when hundreds of people were entertained by Kirsty Baird’s singers.