Leith Walk scheme dealt blow

University backs out of controversial Leith revamp

Stead's Place Leith Walk

Rejected scheme: planners were unimpressed by the plan


Edinburgh University has backed out of a £50 million plan to redevelop a stretch of Leith Walk which has been mired in controversy for months.

Drum Property Group wants to demolish the red sandstone row of buildings and industrial units at Stead’s Place and replace it with a five storey block including 471 student room accommodation, a 56 bedroom hotel, 53 affordable flats, a café as well as business and retail units.

The University said the decision was prompted by concern among senior staff that Drum had failed to address concerns of the community and the council that the development would have a negative impact on Leith.

The council listed eight reasons why the proposals breached planning regulations, including that the “sandstone building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the design of the proposed replacement building does not outweigh the loss of the existing building”.

Leith Depot

Leith Depot, once the notorious Meridien bar, is one of the few businesses left


It is understood that the University wanted Drum to come up with alternative proposals for the site and to listen to the community. Drum’s decision instead to take the application to appeal prompted the University to sever ties with the scheme.

A University spokesperson said: “The University has kept a close interest in the proposed plan for Stead’s Place and, after giving it careful consideration, has decided not to pursue that interest any further.”

The decision will be welcomed by the Save Leith Walk campaigners who have put forward alternative proposals for the site which protects the community aspect.

However, a number of businesses have already left, leaving just a pub and a few other units occupied.

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