A community led regeneration
Granton in North Edinburgh is one of the east coast’s most disadvantaged communities. Following widespread de-industrialisation, unemployment rates are high and the local population has poor health, educational disadvantages and an uncertain future.
7 years ago AiA Art in Architecture with JUMP Joined Up Master Planning – a planning/arts action group- identified a number of sites owned by Waterfront Edinburgh (an agency company of the Council) that might be used as a cornerstone of the area’s renewal. They invited CLU Community Land Use- who have development experience in workspace and housing for community benefit – to work with them and local groups to devise a strategy to use the sites.
The resultant development proposals were strongly supported by local residents in a series of public meetings but political opposition to JUMP meant that negotiations over the acquisition of the sites made no progress. A consultative programme stretching over the winter of 2011 and funded by an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery demonstrated overwhelming community support. In May 2012 there was a change of political leadership in Edinburgh. As a result, the Council’s agency Company has agreed to sell the Land at independent valuation and in November gave a one year window for the scheme’s promoters to secure the resources for the project.
Granton on Sea is a plan with three key elements:
An artist/artisan village built from sea containers on the hillside overlooking the Firth of Forth. The spaces will be for practising and start up artists and artisans and will provide affordable live/work spaces in a striking location. The creative community assembled at the site, will, as in other cities, stimulate creative economic activity across the neighbourhood.
An international garden festival in the historic two acre walled garden. A new garden festival, modelled on the Chaumont Festival, will each year host at least 20 gardens created by horticulturalists and artists working to a theme. The Festival will run each year from May to October and create both jobs and training opportunities for local residents.
A seaside lido made from sea containers. This will have its water heated by heat exchangers in the Forth of Forth will be a new leisure attraction in an area virtually devoid of them.
The total cost of the scheme is estimated at £3-5 million to be financed by grants and loans. The scheme will be implemented by a non profit company answering to a new community body open to all residents – The Granton Improvement Society.