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Fountainbridge North Development, Edinburgh

Fountain North site

Fountainbridge Development

Fountain North : Jan 2005 Update

Fountainbridge Fountainbridge Brewery Fountain North
Fountain North : images Jan 05

2,500 Jobs & 650 Homes Created In Major City Centre
Regeneration Scheme

One of the largest regeneration schemes ever to take place in Edinburgh city centre has moved a major step forward with the publication of a £200 million plan to develop the former Scottish & Newcastle brewery in Fountainbridge.

A planning application submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council by developers Fountain North Ltd reveals ambitious proposals to develop 900,000 sq ft of the former McEwan’s brewery site, sandwiched between Edinburgh’s West Approach Road and Fountainbridge.

Up to 2,500 jobs could be created by the Fountain North development plan which combines 160,000 sq ft of high quality office space with 650 new homes, retail outlets and a new public park. The proposals incorporate ground-breaking environmental and landscaping benefits for an area which became the city’s largest regeneration site when it became available last year. These include wide tree-lined boulevards, accessible green spaces, pedestrian and cycle routes, an innovative mix of family and city-style homes and a radical plan to create underground car-parking for some 650 vehicles.

The developers, Fountain North Ltd, bring together a consortium of interests with a strong pedigree in city centre regeneration, including AMA (New Town) Ltd, Grosvenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The masterplan, designed by Edinburgh-based architects Oberlanders, has taken almost a year to complete and closely follows the framework recommended by the Council’s Development Brief for the Fountainbridge area, published in November 2004.

John Irvine, Director of Grosvenor in Scotland, believes the proposals provide Edinburgh with vibrant new urban quarter, ideally placed to allow the natural expansion of the city centre. “We played a major part in the consultation process which led to the Development Brief,” he says, “and we listened to what the local community and the Council wanted for the area.

‘What we are now proposing is a design which performs two important functions. It will create a landmark development forming a high profile gateway for the city centre from the west. It will also provide the city with a new and accessible urban community, seamlessly linking Bruntsfield and Viewforth in the south with the strategically important transport hub of Haymarket to the north.

‘The result will be an attractive and high quality environment in which to live or work, linking together surrounding communities and regenerating an area which has been excluded from the urban fabric of Edinburgh for more than 150 years.’

The eight-acre site covered by the masterplan has always enjoyed a critical role in the industrial development of Edinburgh. By the early 19th Century, Fountainbridge was a densely populated industrial area, benefiting from the excellent transport links provided by the railway and Union Canal. William McEwan first established a brewery and bottling plant there in 1856, and by the1880s it had expanded to 12 acres, including the current development site.

The brewery became part of Scottish Brewers in 1931, with the subsequent merging to create Scottish & Newcastle Breweries in 1960 instigating a thorough modernisation of the plant, creating much of what remains there today. The north site was put up for sale by S&N during 2003 due to a rationalisation of the S&N bottling and distribution functions.

The Fountain North development plans are ambitious in terms of both size and scope and are intended to have a positive impact on the expansion of the city centre. Two wide tree-lined boulevards, one with restricted vehicle access, will cut through the development from north to south taking traffic away from the residential areas and creating two new junctions on the Western Approach Road.

This will provide a natural calming for traffic as it reaches the city centre, at the same time creating a striking urban gateway for the west of the city centre.

High quality office developments will provide a visible frontage on to Fountainbridge and the West Approach Road which will also incorporate retail outlets and showrooms on to street level. Within the development area itself, smaller ‘artisan’ units will cater for more specialist professional companies, such as lawyers and architects, based along the two main boulevards.

There will be a broad mix of homes, ranging from affordable and social housing and flats suitable for first-time buyers to more family orientated town houses, city-style apartments and luxury penthouses. Homes will be built around open courtyards and along landscaped avenues, with vehicle access being kept to a minimum. The quality of outdoor space will be enhanced by the provision of extensive underground facilities for both car-parking and rubbish disposal – creating the largest subterranean development of its kind in Edinburgh.

Much emphasis has been placed on providing pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the development, allowing for accessibility and ease of movement to and from other parts of the city. The environmental and family-orientated credentials of the site are further enhanced by the development of a new public park off Brandfield Street, maintained by the developers, which will include a fully equipped children’s play park. Next to the park will be a children’s nursery.

Dr Ali Afshar, Director of AMA (Newtown) Ltd, has a long history of developing high quality homes in Edinburgh, and Fountain North has presented him with his biggest and most exciting challenge so far.

‘The development has been designed to be sensitive to the local area,’ he says, ‘with a maximum five to six storey heights blending in with surrounding tenement buildings and preserving the existing skyscape and views across the city. We intend the majority of homes to be owner-occupied to add to the genuine community feel that already exists in the area, which, although is so near to the city centre, enjoys a distinct and vibrant identity.

‘Opportunities to create a brand new urban district in the very heart of a dynamic city centre such as Edinburgh do not come around very often,” he adds. ‘We believe our design proposals provide exactly what is needed to complete this ‘missing’ part of the city, and we are confident that it exceeds the requirements of the Council’s Development Brief for Fountainbridge in terms of both quality and accessibility.’

Following the submission of the planning application, Fountain North Ltd will front a major consultation exercise with the local community to continue their involvement with the regeneration of the area. Depending on planning approvals, work is expected to start on site by the beginning of 2006.

Acting for Fountain North Ltd are agents Ryden and King Sturge (commercial), and Savills (residential).

Fountainbridge North Development issued 18 Jan 2005 for Fountain North Ltd by Weber Shandwick

Fountainbridge Redevelopment

Fountain North
Fountain North Edinburgh
image from architects

Leamington Wharf housing
Canalside Apartments
image from Michael Laird Architects

Edinburgh Quay
Edinburgh Quay
image © Paul Zanre

Fountain Park

Fountainbridge Brewery

City Travel Inn
Travel Inn Edinburgh
photograph : Steffen Schefer

Buildings close by to the east:

EICC The Exchange
Edinburgh Conference Centre
photo © Adrian Welch

Scottish Widows
Scottish Widows Edinburgh
picture © Adrian Welch

Traverse Theatre
Traverse Theatre Edinburgh
photograph © Adrian Welch

Comments / photos for the Fountainbridge Development page welcome