Tram link could open door to radical changes
Taking Edinburgh’s tram network to Granton could open up the waterfront as the home of a new long-awaited concert hall for the Capital – with the iconic gas holder a potential location option.
Edinburgh City Council published a 10-year strategy on Friday, the city mobility plan, indicating how people and goods will move around the city more sustainably in a bid to become carbon neutral by 2030 amid a growing population.
A key proposal is extending the tram network to Granton to connect with the council’s flagship regeneration project which includes 4,500 new homes and a cultural venture by the National Galleries of Scotland.
Waterfront must be city's 'next go-to place'
Now the council’s depute leader, who represents Granton as a ward councillor, has indicated that the iconic former gas tower could be turned into a flagship concert hall.
Labour Cllr Cammy Day, said: “The galleries already have a site there to build a new national galleries site. We have the gas tower and acres of land.
“The Edinburgh waterfront needs to be the next go-to place and the council has some fantastic opportunities there. When you fly into the city, you see the gas tower. Could that become a new concert hall venue like the SECC in north Edinburgh? Possibly.
“Across the world, there are examples of gas towers turned into hotels, conference venues and office blocks. They have transformed gas towers into amazing venues – I hope we do the same.”
Proposals to build the first new concert venue in the Capital for more than 100 years, the Dunard Centre at St Andrew Square, have been put on hold due to uncertainty over a legal challenge relating to its approval of planning permission. Meanwhile, plans were unveiled for a 8,000-seat concert arena in Midlothian last year.
If the tram extension to Granton is moved forward by council bosses, it could see a spur line built from Haymarket, taking in the Craigleith Retail Park and the Western General Hospital on its way to Granton.
Cllr Day believes that the initial problem-hit tram project turned people away from further extensions, but a change in attitudes has led to people welcoming the sustainable mode of transport.
He said: “We need to do something differently – we can’t continue to have as many cars travelling into the city centre as we have now.
“Whilst of course it will cause disruption, the end game for us will be a success to get around the city.”