If you have lived in Leith for a while then you may remember this indoor market on Great Junction Street:
It wasn’t the only indoor market on the street. There was another one just like it that burnt down in September 2000 just along the street, leaving Great Junction Street with a big gap site that most people will be familiar with:
Following a series of legal wrangles, Port of Leith Housing Association are now likley to get the go ahead to build these flats on this notorious gap site:
The proposed development involves 30 affordable flats, 9 will be one bedroom and the rest will be two bedroom. They will be a mixture a ‘social rent’ and ‘mid-market rent.’
Locals will be interested to know that much of the funding for development comes from an unusual deal with Cala Homes, the private developers of the Trinity House site on Ferry Road at Goldenacre.
Normally planners insist that developers should build their required quota of affordable homes on site, but in this case, Cala Homes were given permission to build them off-site, and the money ended up on Great Junction Street.
The development will make a huge improvement to the North side of Great Junction Street, with some 362 square metres of commercial floor space on the ground floor. Interestingly, the current planning application proposes that this space should be given permission to operate flexibly, “given the potential difficulty in marketing retail units within this particular stretch of Great Junction Street at this time.”
It adds that: “One of the options, which the Association is currently investigating, is the future provision of a community café for training purposes, as part of the Association’s TOiL (Training Opportunities in Lothian) programme.”
This proposal has caught the eye of local traders who have submitted a mini petition to council planners arguing that there are already too many hot food takeaways in the area. Interestingly, many of the local traders that objected were not hot food takeaways themselves.
Despite these concerns, planners are recommending that the development is given the greenlight. And according to the POLHA website, building work is set to begin this March.
In an altogether seperate development it has also been revealed recently that the Nepal Scotland Association have purchased another Great Junction Street building from the council – the former Doctor Bells Swimming Pool.
They plan to do away with the swimming pool and renovate the building as a “Himalyan Centre,” which is described as an environmentally friendly, community arts venue, that may also feature a community cafe too.
By our reckoning that will be the sixth community owned cafe in Leith, including the one proposed Port of Leith Housing Association over the road. You can see a map of the ones that are currently trading in the map below.[googlemaps https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=205020940360833594942.000499573938a98c79cae&source=embed&t=h&ll=55.96765,-3.174362&spn=0.01321,0.021458&z=15&output=embed&w=500&h=550]
Taken together, could these developments bring a renewed sense of optimism to Great Junction Street?