"Brewing New Life" Report Press Release

Press Release - Immediate release. 2012-04-03

Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative pressure group present their vision for a new sustainable Fountainbridge community.

Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative (FCI) today presented the results of their community consultations in a detailed document titled “Brewing New Life” - a vision for a new sustainable community in Fountainbridge. It was released at a presentation by FCI and supporting parties to local politicians and Scottish Canals staff at 16:30 on Wednesday, 4th April 2012, at the Re-union Edinburgh Canal Centre, Lochrin Basin, Fountainbridge.

This presentation was held to engage positively with the stakeholders and future developers of the old brewery site, including key representatives from the Council (now the owners of the bulk of the site) and Scottish Canals (until recently called British Waterways Scotland). We presented and promoted a range of innovative and exciting ideas in the “Brewing New Life”, report. The report has been prepared over the past year by people coming together at public meetings, through workshops and in specialist committees and consultations.

The bulk of the site has now been purchased by City of Edinburgh Council, with a view to the probable re-location of Boroughmuir High School on one part of it, FCI are optimistic that the Council will be sympathetic to the ambitions within “Brewing New Life” and will also resist the possible temptation to sell off chunks of the site piecemeal to maximise immediate profit

Proposals Include

  • Creating a new Olympic training sports facility in partnership with Boroughmuir High School and Forth Canoe Club - currently in consultation with CEC
  • Mixed affordable housing in the style of the nearly Shandon Colonies
  • Using canal water as heat exchange system as proposed in the Edinburgh Canal Strategy
  • A new canal basin in line with the Edinburgh Canal Strategy and a canal centre encompassing boat rental and maintenance companies to create youth employment opportunities
  • Allotments in north Fountainbridge - currently in consultation with the developers

Local resident and FCI spokesperson, Stan Reeves comments: “We believe our proposals can make a positive contribution to the development of this crucial site. Our ideas reflect community priorities and needs, for example, the creation of a new, mixed community, the provision of affordable housing and the creation of a quality canalside environment which everyone can enjoy. We feel we also need a stimulating mix of activities on site, such as social enterprises and units for small businesses which will revitalise the local economy and create a range of local employment opportunities.

Scottish Canoe Association Development Officer Lorraine McAuley said "Siting Forth Canoe Club next to Boroughmuir school would create a fantastic sports facility for the school and help to ensure Scotland continues its track record of creating winning Olympic athletes in our sport."

Given present difficulties for many commercial property operations, community development of a part of the Fountainbridge canalside site will have positive impacts which help to:

  • Re-generate a major brownfield area
  • Reverse the drift of families from the city centre
  • Enhance the overall commercial value of a prime waterfront site
  • Provide a showcase for the best of community partnership working

FCI would like to use funding from a variety of sources to engage experts in water, design, urban planning and sustainable energy to translate the community’s vision into a model for co-operative development.

Realistically Edinburgh’s stalled commercial developments may take years to restart but FCI is convinced that there is no need for an important land asset to wait. The Initiative is not against developer's commercial needs and feel the time is now right to seek greater community and public involvement to create a sustainable development plan. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on the potential and create a revitalised canal like the Canal de St Martin in Paris. Regeneration of Edinburgh's Union Canal was started in 1975 by Forth Canoe Club, gained momentum with the publicly funded Millennium Link and can be completed by creating a thriving Fountainbridge. We hope to see the process reflect the wishes and concerns of local people and businesses with regard to scale, design and the mix of building uses.

FCI see the potential for the Council, Scottish Canals and other progressive stakeholders to create a world class regeneration project in an innovative partnership with the community, using the canal and the creation of a new balanced community at its heart.

Brewing New Life report:

Contact:

Notes for editors:

Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative

Forth Canoe Club

  • Community sports club coaching from beginner to Olympic level. FCC paddler David Florence won a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is a leading Scottish member of Team GB competing for two disciplines in 2012 London Olympics. Forth Canoe Club started the regeneration of the Union Canal by dredging Lochrin Basin in 1975. http://www.forthcc.com Jonathan Riddell forthcc@forthcc.com 07941 938 912

Scottish Canals - A newly formed quango created by the Scottish Government to replace British Waterways in Scotland

EDI - "arms length" body owned by City of Edinburgh Council which owns most of the former brewery site.