Community approach to Fountainbridge

Union CanalI have written previously on this blog about the work of the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative and community efforts to influence the regeneration of the canalside at the site of the former Scottish & Newcastle Brewery.

The masterplanners for the site, EDI, have now submitted its Proposal of Application Notice – providing 12-weeks of consultation ahead of the submission of planning permission.

As part of this process, there will be a public meeting to view the proposals.  This will be held on 27 March from 12-8pm in the Central Halls.  This will be followed by an exhibition from 28 March-11 April to view the plans in Fountainbridge Library.  You can view the plans here.

The submission of the Planning Application Notice follows a lengthy period of community engagement to get the plans to this stage. Last year, EDI, held a series of community consultations to give local people the opportunity to help shape development of the area to the west of the city centre.

EDI have published short reports following each of these consultation events which can be accessed here.

The first event focused on key principles to underpin the development.  What came out of the discussions was the desire to turn the area into a vibrant community with welcoming outside spaces and a range of uses.  People want to see the area used to provide a mix of housing in the city centre.  They also want to see best use made of the canal and for a city quarter that provides things like cafes and restaurants alongside office space that can be easily accessed by cyclists and pedestrians.

The second workshop took on the principles identified at the earlier event to begin to flesh out ideas for the area. These looked at enhancing the water space, creating a neighbourhood that would stand out, finding ways to incorporate the heritage of the area and ideas to ensure that the development is environmentally sustainable.

The final, and most detailed workshop presented an outline development strategy and masterplan options based on the outcomes of the first two events.  The feedback from the community was positive and the report highlights a buzz of excitement surrounding the progress of the proposals.  This demonstrates the benefits that real community involvement can lead to a collaborative approach to deliver developments that people support.

Following these consultations, the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative has produced a detailed response setting out some concerns relating to the provision of housing and the best use of the waterside.  I am hopeful that the Masterplanners will continue to engage with the community on a regular basis to ensure that views are discussed.  The emerging proposals look inspiring and I hope you can find the time to have a look through them, particularly if you live near that part of the city.

I hope we’ll continue to see both the spirit and outcomes of the consultation process followed through as the development moves forward.