Major plans to build several thousand new homes in Edinburgh as part of a £2 billion expansion have come forward.
Development consortium West Town Edinburgh Ltd (WTE) is leading the new development, which is earmarked for a 205-acre site west of the Scottish capital.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed between WTE and City of Edinburgh Council, who will be partners on the “West Town” expansion.
The joint venture (JV) was announced by council leader, Cammy Day, and Drum Property Group managing director, Graeme Bone, at the UK Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum (UKREIIF), in Leeds, on Tuesday (16 May).
Central to the major scheme, dubbed a so-called “20-minute neighbourhood”, is the proposal for up to 7,000 new homes with associated commercial and community facilities, outlined in the City of Edinburgh Council’s City Plan 2030.
Drum also revealed plans to build a new station for the Edinburgh Tram route which runs directly through the site, suggesting major infrastructure to support its construction.
“The idea of ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’ – sometimes called… ‘15-minute cities’ – has been gaining momentum for several years and is already being implemented in places such as Melbourne and Paris,” said the Town and Country Planning Association.
“Interest in the idea has grown as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns put a spotlight on the importance of the liveability of neighbourhoods, with people spending more time locally, working at home if possible, using public green space, cycling and walking instead of using cars and connecting with neighbours.”
The West Town site, between Ingliston Park & Ride and the Gogar Roundabout at the western gateway of Edinburgh, is “one of the most strategically important development areas in Scotland”, said Drum. At UKREIIF on Tuesday, Day described the land in question as “overlooked”.
However, the scheme is still subject to:
- A delivery strategy as set out by the joint MoU
- The approval of City Plan 2030
- Planning policy and permissions
If the necessary conditions are met, works could start on site next year, said Drum.
Adding, the first phase of homes and community amenity could be ready by early 2026.
“The amount of space on the site combined with its superb location allows for a natural extension for the city providing 7,000 mixed-tenure homes and new jobs in a new 20-minute neighbourhood,” said Graeme Bone, group managing director of Drum.
“West Town has direct access to some of the best public transport in Scotland – the tram line travels through the site and there are integrated rail, cycle and road connections, creating a strategic gateway to Edinburgh.”
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