If the members of the Finance and Resources committee give the project the go ahead, then the Fountainbridge regeneration plans will move ahead with the appointment of a development partner for the brownfield site.

The council staged a competition and now seek to appoint Cruden Homes (East) Limited as their partner before the work on the £1.1 million contract begins in spring 2022. This would allow Cruden to conduct work to prepare for building, including the finalisation of designs and a net zero carbon energy solution for the site.

While the masterplan was approved five years ago it has taken some work meantime to bring the plans forward to this stage. There will be 436 new homes, offices for start ups, shops, social enterprise and community spaces with “high-quality public realm”. On the west is the new Boroughmuir High School and on the east Vastint Hospitality’s New Fountainbridge bounds the area for redevelopment.

From a £100,000 community fund the canal towpath will be improved. Park spaces will be created as well as local arts projects. The masterplan also includes work experience placements and apprenticeship opportunities for pupils at the nearby school or among those who have been unemployed long-term.

The houses will include 113 homes for social rent, with over 10% wheelchair accessible, 64 homes for mid-market and market rent and 259 homes for private sale or rent.

Cllr Rob Munn, Finance and Resources Convener, said: “An extensive process and strong scrutiny has gone into this procurement process to get us to this point. We’ll look to discuss this at committee next week and hope to agree that we have a pre-development partner in place that shares our vision while also offering us best value.

“Since the purchase of this underused brownfield site, and the development of the new Boroughmuir High School, we now want to deliver more social and affordable housing and space for businesses, particularly creating space for the data driven and digital sectors that are so important to Edinburgh’s economic recovery.

“It’s important that we build affordable homes across the city and in the areas that people want to live so it’s great that these homes are located so close to the city centre. The development will provide homes that are both cost effective to heat and wheelchair accessible and will be a mix of council housing and mid-market homes, which will be managed by the council’s Edinburgh Living.”

 Cllr Joan Griffiths, Vice Convener, said: “Seeing our masterplan getting closer to becoming a reality is very exciting and I look forward to seeing the site start to take shape and realise our ambitions for Fountainbridge.

“This development will bring a great regenerative feel to this area of the city and through the community benefits programme we have agreed as part of this development contract we also hope to bring new jobs and training opportunities for local people, offer opportunities for local artists while also enhancing existing public spaces in and around Fountainbridge.”

Chair of the Fountainbridge Sounding Board, Cllr Gavin Corbett said: “The masterplan for the Fountainbridge site has been ten years in the making, with a level of community input very rarely achieved in developments of this type. Now we are at the delivery end it’s vital that the chosen partner understands all the expectations that are placed on the site, from being a model of sustainability, to high quality public spaces, genuinely affordable housing and a home to a thriving local economy. And all in a unique canalside setting. 
“The potential is huge. It’s all now about making it real.”

The plans will be finalised along with input from the local community in the coming months, but further committee approval will be required before the construction phase begins.