Great Britain

New waterfront festival lined up in Edinburgh under £1.3 billion vision for Granton coastline

One of Europe's biggest coastal parks is envisaged as part of the new cultural quarter in Granton.
One of Europe's biggest coastal parks is envisaged as part of the new cultural quarter in Granton.

Edinburgh is set to get new waterfront festival as part of a drive to revitalise the city’s coastline and ensure a better spread of visitors around the city.

Open space at Gypsy Brae is earmarked for the new festival, which will see events and activities staged against the spectacular backdrop of the coastline.

Granton's historic railway station, which dates back more than 100 years, will be brought back to life as a creative industries hub under the blueprint for the area.

Granton's historic railway station, which dates back more than 100 years, will be brought back to life as a creative industries hub under the blueprint for the area.

The event, which has been provisionally named as the Forthside Festival, is proposed for the edge of new waterfront park, which is a cornerstone of a proposed £1.3 billion regeneration of Granton, which envisages the area becoming both a new "cultural quarter" and an important new "visitor destination" for the city.

Other proposals include the opening of new public attractions run by the National Galleries of Scotland and National Museums of Scotland to complement their existing archive centres on the waterfront, which are not normally open to the public.

A former gas tower, which was saved from demolition after a campaign by heritage bodies, has been earmarked for a potential new cultural centre or concert hall. Although a full-scale restoration is expected to cost at least £10 million, it is hoped it become a “cultural anchor” for the entire waterfront regeneration.

The city council has already unveiled plans for to transform the Victorian-era gasometer with a £150,000 sound and light show in a joint project being developed with Edinburgh College.

The future vision for Granton envisages it as 'one of Edinburghs best places to live, work, learn and visit.'

The future vision for Granton envisages it as 'one of Edinburghs best places to live, work, learn and visit.'

A new lease of life for Granton’s historic railway station as a creative industries hub, the creation of a wake boarding park in a quarry, converting old shipping containers which will be brought into the area into new cafes and leisure facilities, reviving a 15th century walled garden, an adventure playground attraction and even a wind turbine pilot are all proposed.

The cultural quarter is a key element in a new blueprint for the long-term transformation of the area, which would see the creation of 3500 new homes, the transformation of a vast brownfield site into what is billed as “one of Europe’s largest coastal parks, which will link Granton Harbours with Gypsy Brae.

Official studies on the future of tourism in Edinburgh have recommended more effort is made to encourage visitors to travel outwith some of the busiest parts of the city, including the Old Town, to help ease crowd congestion.

It is hoped the Granton vision will also emulate the success of Dundee’s waterfront, where the arrival of the V&A museum has helped transform the image of the city and sparked a huge tourism boom for the city.

Granton's historic gasometer would become a 10.5 million 'cultural anchor' for the area under the city council's vision.

Granton's historic gasometer would become a 10.5 million 'cultural anchor' for the area under the city council's vision.

The 15-year vision envisages the Granton waterfront as “a visitor destination where people can experience a vibrant, locally rooted cultural scene that supports jobs, social capital, health and wellbeing.

The future blueprint states: ”Creativity and culture will be embedded within the Granton Waterfront development.

“The local community, in new and existing neighbourhoods, actively participate in developing and delivering a range of cultural activities across the community.

“The Granton waterfront is a development that has artistic practice at its heart and is regarded as an exemplar development in the UK that creates affordable and accessible spaces for creative industries including start-up businesses, social enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

A new report for the city council on the £1.3 billion project states: “The regeneration of Granton Waterfront provides an unmissable opportunity for Scotland’s capital city to set the standard for sustainable growth, marking a stepped change in how development can influence how we go about our daily lives.

“Over the next 10-15 years, this area of the city will be transformed from a post-industrial brownfield site into vibrant new neighbourhoods where people live and travel and grow the economy in an inclusive and considerate way.”

Cammy Day, the depute council leader, who also represents the Granton area added: “The regeneration of Granton will create hundreds of new jobs linked to growth of new services, business, leisure and creative industries and will strengthen the retail and small businesses that already exist.

“Our public sector partners Edinburgh College, and the National Museums of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland, who all have land or buildings within Granton Waterfront, are committed to working collaboratively to maximise the impact of combining our resources.”

City council leader Adam McVey added: “We’ve made a commitment to become a net zero carbon city by 2030 and the regeneration of Granton offers the perfect opportunity to showcase how this can be delivered.

"We’re committed to working with the local community and partners to create vibrant new neighbourhoods where people live and travel and grow the economy in an eco-friendly way.”