Masterplan to give ‘new heart’ to Craigmillar site

The new library within the centre; below, Cllr Frank Ross, chair of Parc. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
The new library within the centre; below, Cllr Frank Ross, chair of Parc. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE next phase in the long-awaited multi-million pound transformation of Craigmillar is set to get under way before the end of the summer.

A design team is currently revising the masterplan which will see hundreds of new homes, a food store, offices and civic square built on the 50 acre site.

It is understood that the plan to provide “a new heart” for the community will be presented by September as part of a 
widescale public consultation programme.

A new urban regeneration plan had to be ordered last year in an attempt to kick-start interest in the area.

Planning chiefs have previously admitted that attempts to transform the district are running around four years behind schedule and that a new vision was needed to attract private investment.

However, having initially looked to progress the project with a private partner, publicly-owned development firm Parc will now proceed with the plans on its own. It was originally intended that Parc – the firm set up by the council and city house builder EDI – would create 2200 new publicly-owned homes, but just 400 have been delivered so far. Another 1000 were due to be built by private developers for sale on the open market, but just 190 have been completed to date.

Chair of Parc, Councillor Frank Ross, said: “Parc’s financial position has strengthened considerably over the last two years. The company now has the resources to take forward its ambitious vision for the transformation of the town centre on its own accord, allowing more investment to stay in Craigmillar and in the city. Work on the project will begin immediately.”

Local councillor Maureen Child has welcomed this latest movement on the project: “Without the economic downturn we would be home and dry by now but we are where we are and I am confident that Parc can bring these plans to fruition.

“I welcome the fact that Parc are doing it themselves rather than in some complicated joint venture with a private company. What is important now is to move ahead and complete the project.”

Green open spaces will link the town centre to already completed regeneration projects such as the iconic art deco White House building and the council’s new neighbourhood office and public library.

Central to the regeneration plans will be the building of a new state-of-the-art community high school – to be completed by 2020 – to replace the existing Castlebrae High School.

Art deco symbol of regeneration

THE historic art deco White House was officially reopened following the completion of a £2 million restoration project in 2011.

In doing so the 1930s landmark building has become a symbol of the regeneration taking place in Craigmillar and is now a well-used community facility.

The B-listed building, designed in 1936 by William Innes Thomson, was restored in a project funded by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund (TCRF), and supported by Parc.

A stunning example of art deco style, it is also one of Scotland’s last remaining roadhouses, made popular by the motoring boom of the inter-war years.