Arts hub plan is binned over cash shortfall

Market Street proved too costly. Picture: Julie Bull
Market Street proved too costly. Picture: Julie Bull
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PLANS to create an arts hub at an Old Town gap site have been shelved after the city council and creative organisations failed to find the funds required.

The project had been planned for a temporary car park and run-down warehouse on Market Street, opposite the rear entrance to Waverley Station.

Fine art charity Edinburgh Printmakers had been due to spearhead the arts hub.

The plans will no longer go ahead at 4-8 Market Street, with the parties involved unable to cover the estimated 
£3.1 million cost.

The council’s finance and budget committee is now expected to approve the site’s sale to property development and investment arm EDI Group in a move that will open the location up to commercial developers.

The French consulate has shown strong interest in moving to Market Street.

The gap site has been lying empty since the 1960s and the warehouse, which has been vacant for more than 20 years, was used by the police to store impounded vehicles.

EDI Group operations director Eric Adair said there was a “number” of commercial organisations that had shown interest.

He added: “It’s no secret that the [council] report points out that there is strong interest from the French consulate for part of the site.

“Based on that, ourselves and the council believe that it’s time to try and develop it.

“It’s not the easiest of sites to build on because Cockburn Street effectively runs up the back of it. To put the arts facility in there was going to require a significant amount of money, which none of the arts organisations or the council actually had available.”

Cockburn Street arts bodies Collective and Stills had both shown initial interest in the nearby site, but have since developed alternate plans.

Edinburgh Printmakers director Sarah Price said the organisation would have been stretched trying to meet high rental costs at Market Street.

She said space at the location would also have been tight, preventing them from achieving a desired 1500sqm of floor space.

The agency is investigating a move to the former North British Rubber factory in 

City culture convener Richard Lewis said: “If the proposed move goes ahead, it would bring a derelict listed building back into use through the creation of an exciting new arts facility, benefiting the local community and adding character and vibrancy to the wider redevelopment of