Under-fire Leith Walk developers pledge to create new music venue

Developers behind a controversial development which has sparked a Save Leith Walk campaign have unveiled plans to replace a live music venue that is battling demolition plans.

Artist's impression of the new development at Leith Walk.

The Drum Property Group has unveiled new designs showing how the new “Leith Live” venue will look when the £50 million development is completed.

The company has revealed it has overhauled its plans for a new student housing and hotel development in the wake of protests from campaigners and politicians about the scale, design and impact of the new development.

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It has pledged its scheme will now include “a row of indep­endent retail, restaurant and entertainment units” facing onto Leith Walk. The firm claims the changes will help maintain the area’s “distinctive cultural feel and identity”.

But the plans will still involve the closure of the existing music venue at the site as the current row of buildings facing onto Leith Walk are said to be “no longer economically viable” to the developers.

Leith Depot’s operators have previously urged the developers to retain and refurbish the existing block on Leith Walk as it would allow the venue and other existing buildings to keep operating during construction work.

They have accused the company of putting profits over people and profits over design with its “monstrous” plans for the site, which the firm insists will “revitalise an important part of the city.”

Drum communications director Fife Hyland said: “We’ve listened to members of the community who have participated in our consultation events and we understand the importance of maintaining a distinctive and independent feel for this important stretch of Leith Walk. We’ll continue to evolve proposals for a bold, modern development for a confident and diverse Leith.

“We’re now having positive discussions with many of the current traders with a view to encouraging them to return to the new development on completion – offering favourable rents, in line with current levels, and significantly lower than market value.”

A spokesman for Leith Depot said: “The main focus of the planning application is demolition – there are simply too many ‘unknowns’ after that happens. If demolition is granted, plans can be amended. We can’t relocate for two years and return to a residential development as a live venue. In essence, we’re being forced out.”