Plans to close down and demolish popular Edinburgh music venue Leith Depot have been revealed.
The land at Stead’s Place, on Leith Walk, was bought up last year by the Drum Property Group, who want to replace the existing buildings with what they call a “mixed-use development”. Student housing – seen as a easy money-maker – is one of the planned uses, with the developer also having bought up the artists’ hub in St Margaret’s House at Meadowbank for he same purpose.
The Depot opened less than three years ago, replacing the notorious Meridian with a thriving bar and restaurant, with an intimate music venue upstairs which has hosted shows by the likes of The Nightingales/Blue Orchids, Orielles, The Valves, RM Hubbert and Paws.
A statement for Leith Depot said: “We are aware of the planning application notice that has been published for the block that we are other businesses are located in.
“Our lease will come to an end in 2019 and we’re now speaking to our landlord to figure our what options are available to us.”
However, Drum’s managing director Graeme Bone claims that existing tenants, also including Punjabi Junction, the Leith Walk Cafe and The Bed Shop, will be offered the chance to return after two years. Talking to the Edinburgh Evening News, he said: “Our vision is to provide welcoming, inspirational and distinctive spaces for use by local residents, post-graduate students and the wider public.
“Developing purpose-built affordable housing, retail units, a hotel and post-graduate accommodation on this conveniently located site will help alleviate housing pressures in the area and provide a boost for inward investment in Leith that will help sustain community facilities and create additional opportunities for local business, maximising the potential for additional future investment in the area.
“We are keen for both local organisations and current tenants along the frontage to Leith Walk to contribute as we develop our plans.
However, Morvern Cunningham, co-founder of the Leith Creative network, said: “This site is already a welcoming, inspirational and distinctive space housing a number of important community assets.”
And Leith councillor Gordon Munro added: “Once again we see money taking precedence over place in Leith. A good venue and a good social enterprise will have to start all over again.
Local MSP Ben MacPherson has also spoken out about the plans, saying that the matter will be discussed at a Leith Community Council meeting on March 19.