A multi-use community space in Craigmillar is set to cost more than four times as much to complete as was originally estimated.

As part of an initiative to breathe new life into the area, an unused site in the town centre is being transformed into a new “gathering space” the council describes as “a place that can be enjoyed by the entire community”.

“Walk Up Avenue” will consist of extended greenspace, planting beds, outdoor markets, a live performance area and two commercial units for small businesses to use.

The project, primarily funded by the Government’s Town Centre Fund, was initially budgeted at £170,000.

However, a revised budget for the work has now been set at £700,000 — more than four times the original figure — which the council says is due to the price of materials and labour which are “increasing every month”.

A report to the Finance and Resources Committee on Thursday read: “As the project progressed, the design evolved to provide a genuinely unique offering for the community and local businesses alike, other funding sources also became available therefore the scope expanded.

“The revised budget to deliver on all the objectives, and to avoid loss of funding, has been reset at a more realistic level of £700,000. This will also allow proper infrastructure/utilities to be installed on the site for long term community use.”

It added discussions with contractor New Practice Ltd “demonstrated that materials and labour prices are increasing every month’

“In order to ensure that the project could continue, and a meanwhile use delivered on the site, additional funding has been applied for and awarded.

“This comprises £60,000 from the PBIP and around £95,000 from the NatureScot Raingarden and Biodiversity fund. All of these funds require the funding to be spent by the end of this financial year. Additional funding streams will continue to be investigated.”

The report noted an additional £117,000 will be needed for the construction of the second commercial unit.

It added: “Funding for this element has not yet been identified but this waiver extension will enable any additional funding source that may be secured to be utilised without the requirement for further approvals.”

by Donald Torvill Local Democracy Reporter

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