Edinburgh Waterfront

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Proposed timetable for developments ©


 2003 to 2005

Edinburgh Waterfront Announcements

May /June 2003

346 Acres

Current Work

Sports Complex

Waterfront Transport

Leith Developments

Sep 2003

Telford College  -  plans

Jun 2004

Waterfront Avenue + Saltire Square  -  open

Oct 2004

Waterfront Island Hotel  -  plans

Mar 2005

Eco-Tower  -  plans

Jun 2005

Long-term Plans  -  Leith

Jun 2005

Long-term Plans  -  Granton

Dec 2005

A New Park

Edinburgh Waterfront  -   Announcements   -  2006 onwards


Proposals  -  2003

346 Acres

Waterfront Edinburgh is the name given to 346 acres of derelict industrial land on the shore of the Firth of Forth from Granton Harbour to the west, taking in a large area of old gas works.

There are plans to redevelop this area over several years, creating:

-   a 650 berth marina and canal
-   a World Trade Centre (Feasibility Study commenced)
-   a campus for Telford College
-   a leisure centre
-   a primary school
-   6,500 homes
-   Cafés, shops, restaurants
-   offices
-   industry.

These developments are to extend over 15 years.  Plans were recently  [20 May 2003] announced for the first 500 homes, to be built on reclaimed land that was formerly part of Western Harbour, Granton.

Work has already begun.  One of three large gasometers has been demolished, a second gasometer is to be demolished soon.  The third one has been 'listed' so will remain - its future use not yet decided.

Current Work

Many of the old derelict buildings on the site have been demolished, and the site made more level in the early months of 2003.

One of the three  large gasometers was dismantled in early 2003, and a new office for Scottish Gas built close by.

Work has begun on construction of Telford College towards the south-west corner of the site.


Sports Complex

Proposals were announced in July 03 to construct a new £150,000 indoor "extreme sports" complex for skateboard, inline skating and BMX cycling enthusiasts on the 30,000 sq. ft. site of the former wireworks factory at Granton.  This project, which is being proposed by a new group named Edinburgh Wheels,  has still to receive formal approval, but is said to have the support of Waterfront Edinburgh.

Update - October 2003

The original proposals to create this sports centre on the site formerly used by United Wire Works at Granton Park Avenue (part of the Waterfront development) now seem unlikely to go ahead.  The building is likely to be used for other purposes.
[Edinburgh Evening News:  14 October 2003,  p.8]


Waterfront Transport

A new tram route is planned, creating a loop from Waterfront to Leith to central Edinburgh.  It is hoped that the first services will operate in 2009.

Leith Developments

Other areas of Edinburgh along the Firth of Forth are also being developed.   Leith has been transformed over the last decade. 

Recent developments within Leith Docks include:

-   hotels
-   sports complex
-   Scottish Office (for Scottish Parliament)
-   Shopping Centre and Multi-Cinema (Ocean Terminal)


 Edinburgh Evening News  20 May 2003, p 5
Edinburgh Evening News  9 June 2003, pp.14,15
 and other miscellaneous sources.


Telford College

Telford College is seeking planning permission to build a new college on a 110 acre site at  the Waterfront, for 20,000 students and 600 staff.  This will replace its four existing campuses in Edinburgh.

Planning consent is being sought on 10 September 03.  If granted, construction is scheduled to begin in December 03.

The plan includes sports facilities, open to public use, and a "bubble roof" similar to that on the Eden Project in Cornwall, a wilderness garden and wind powered generators.

  Edinburgh Evening News  8 September 2003, p 3


Waterfront Avenue


Saltire Square

The first major road through the Waterfront site, Waterfront Avenue, was opened on 18 Jun 2004.  The road leads:

-   from West Harbour Road beside the old lighthouse [Waterfront, north-east]

-   past the newly created Saltire Square with its sculpture of a family, titled "Going to the Beach"

This sculpture was cast at Powderhall Bronze, Edinburgh.  Their name appears on a satchel being carried by one of the figures.

-   past the new impressive gates to Caroline Park

-   past the new Scottish Gas Offices

-   towards the area where Telford College is being built beside West Granton Road [Waterfront, south-west]

June 2004


Waterfront Island Hotel

Proposals were announced on 5 October 2004 for creating a nine-acre teardrop-shaped island in the Firth of Forth to the north of the one remaining gasometer, connected to the shore by a causeway. 

The island would include:

-  a 30-storey tower to include a hotel, flats and shops.

- a man-made beach and a small harbour.

-  a park and town squares.

This proposal is still at a very early stage.

Here is an artist's impression of how the island might appear

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Artist's impression of a proposed teardrop island ©

[Further proposals announced in June 2005 still envisage this island being created.]

Evening News  5 October 2004,  page 3

See 'News from 2006' for an update of these proposals



The Edinburgh architects, RMJM have announced proposals to build a £21.5m Eco-tower on land immediately to the west of Granton Harbour, as part of the Edinburgh Waterfront development.  William Waugh's scrap yard is at present on this site.

The scrap yard, today

  Edinburgh Waterfront  -  William Waugh's Scrap Yard  -  3 August 2002 ©

RMJM worked in partnership with Eric Miralles on the design of the new Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh that opened in 2004.

Scottish Parliamen under construction  -  Windows  -  August 2003 ©

The Eco-Tower would comprise:

-  two 85 metre high towers

-  almost fifty wind turbines slung between the towers to generate electricity.

The concept of designing new buildings around renewable energy has been welcomed, though some have questioned whether or not the time and place are right for this proposal.  The proposal is currently at an early stage.


Evening News  5 March 2005,  page 3

Update  -  October 2007

The Eco-Tower is not now to go ahead. 

Instead, it is proposed to build 143 "low cost" flats on the site.


Long-term Plans for Leith -  June 2005

Architects, RMJM, announced further plans, on 30 June 2005,  for the development of Leith Harbour.  Long-term plans would result in the size of Leith doubling over the next twenty years.  They include:

-  nine waterfront villages, each with a landmark building,  linked by a fleet of water taxis

-  18,000 homes, including a 40-storey complex - Scotland's tallest skyscraper - beside Ocean terminal.

-  around 120 apartments built on small islands, each with space for a boat underneath.

-  an international cruise liner terminal at the western peninsula.

-  a gallery at the western peninsula.

-  doubling the size of Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

-  a 5,000-seater arena beside Ocean Terminal.

-  an outdoor theatre in Alexandra dry dock.

Leith Dry Docks ©

-  a Tate-style contemporary art gallery on the edge of docklands.

-  a new public park and beach at the Martello Tower.

-  Martello Tower ( built, 1809)  to be opened to visitors.

-  Leith Links extension by a third, to include new sports fields, and a new green link to the shore.

Planning permission has not yet been sought for these developments.

Evening News  30 June 2005,  pp.1-3


Long-term Plans for Granton -  June 2005


Long-term plans for a 120 acre site at Granton, amounting to over £1bn, were announced in June 2005  by Waterfront Edinburgh, one of three developers responsible for development of the Waterfront.  The other two developers of the Waterfront are:

-  Forth Ports Authority (developers of Granton Western Harbour)

SecondSite (developers of land further west, including Telford College).



Waterfront Edinburg  believe that  most of the proposed developments could be completed within the next ten years and have set out a schedule of developments including:

-  2005-08 with developments  in Granton Western Harbour and the land to the south of the harbour.

-   2011-14 development on a new island in the Firth of Forth to the west of Granton Harbour.


Proposals by Waterfront Edinburgh

  Proposals announced by Waterfront Edinburgh in June 05 included:

-  over 5,000 new homes.

-  a new cultural hub, including an  international standard theatre complex.

-  Granton lighthouse to be converted into a Conference Centre with performance space.

Edinburgh Marathon  -  June 2004  -  Passing the Lighthouse ©

-  a major new museum or art gallery.

-  a new teardrop-shaped island connected to the mainland by a causeway, to house a world-class hotel, two other hotels and  an upmarket shopping arcade.

Waterfront Edinburgh intend to seek planning permission in September 05 for their proposals.


Other Proposals for Granton

  Other proposals for the Waterfront include:

-  a new Head Office for Scottish Gas [development completed]

-  Telford College [development well underway]

-  a further 6,,000 new homes on SecondSite and Forth Ports land.

-  supermarkets, shops and offices.

-  an underground shopping mall  [where?].

-  a public park the size of Leith Links.

-  a new marina in Granton Western Harbour

-  a network of canals and walkways with a hundred sculptures and other works of art.

Evening News  16 June 2005,  pp.2-3

Evening News  30 June 2005,  pp.1-3


Forthquarter Development

A New Park

Further plans were announced on December 8, 2005 for developments at the Forthquarter site, the most westerly of the Edinburgh Waterfront sites.  The proposals include:

-   a new 110 acre park with small loch, a burn and a wildlife area. The park will be on the site of the former gas works, beside the new Telford College, which is due to be officially opened in summer 2006.

The park is to be the size of ten football pitches.  i.e. about half the size of Leith Links. 

Landscaping work on the park is now almost complete, though the park is due to be sealed off until it is officially opened to the public in summer 2006.

-  a Morrisons supermarket, 70,000 sq ft of office space, 2,000 new homes, shops, bars, restaurants and a hotel.

-   a major transport interchange to be sited beside the new Scottish Gas building  -  due to coincide with the launch of the new tram network in 2010.


Evening News  December 8, 2005,  p.11


Edinburgh Waterfront  -   Announcements   -  2006 onwards