Edinburgh Waterfront

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Proposed timetable for developments ©


 From 2006

Edinburgh Waterfront Announcements

Jan 2006

Ten Mile Broadwalk

Mar 2006

Projects planned

Mar 2006

A new Waterfront Island

Sep 2006

New Images from Waterfront Edinburgh

Sep 2006

1500 more Homes

Jan 2007

Granton Gasholders

Mar 2007

Granton-Newhaven Beach and Promenade

Aug - Oct  2007

Forth Ports' Masterplan

Oct 2007

Near Granton Harbour

Dec 2007

More Family Homes

Mar 2008


Mar 2008

Concert Venue

Mar 2008

Tall Buildings

Jul 2008

Western Harbour Park

Aug 2008


Sep 2008

Granton Developments  -  6 years late

Dec 2008

Development Plan

Mar 2009

Development Problems

Jun 2009

Public Cash Needed

Jul 2009

New Hotel

Jul 2009

Demarco Galleries

Aug 2009

Regeneration from 2012

Feb 2010

£84m Investment

Edinburgh Waterfront  -   Announcements   -  up to 2005


January 2006

Ten-mile Broadwalk

Cramond to Joppa

It was announced in the press on 9 January 2006 that Edinburgh City Council are expected to study a £1.5bn plan to create a ten-mile "broadwalk" along Edinburgh's waterfront, along the Firth of Forth  from Cramond to Joppa.

This is a ten to fifteen year vision.  It includes:

-  GRANTON & LEITH:  protecting the seafront promenade from any large-scale developments being built in the Waterfront developments at Granton and Leith.  There would be links with the new marina at Granton and the proposed new cruise liner terminal at Leith.

-   PORTOBELLO:  upgrading of the existing promenade.

-   SEAFIELD:  moving the car showrooms and warehouses and opening up nearly a mile of beach at Seafield.  On this land there would be shops, bars, restaurants, housing and the modern equivalent of Marine Gardens Pleasure Park, possibly including fairground rides, a theatre or concert venue and sports facilities.

The original Marine Gardens Pleasure Park was constructed at Seafield in 1909 on the site now occupied by Lothian Buses bus depot.  It had a ballroom, theatre, amusement park and figure of eight roller coaster and speedway track.  The site was taken over by the military as billets in 1914.  Many of the attractions never re-opened, though the ballroom and speedway track survived until 1939.

Marine Gardens - 1909

  J S & S, Edinburgh  -  Portobello Marine Gardens ©

It is not expected that the recently upgraded Seafield Sewage Works would move from Seafield.  Instead, there might be guided tours of the works, with an environmental theme, and new sludge tanks and methane containment domes with a structural elegance!

  Edinburgh Evening News  January 9, 2006:  pp.1,8,9

'Via Albana'?

Edinburgh Council has undertaken a consultation exercise and found that it's suggested name: 'Broadwalk' is not popular, being considered to be too American and suggesting that a timber structure is to be built.

The Cockburn Association has suggested the name 'Via Albana' or 'Via Romana'  

'Alba' is the Latin name for Scotland  -  and there was a Roman Camp at either end of the walk.  At the Cramond end the  Roman fort was  the headquarters of Septimus Severus.

  Edinburgh Evening News  May 23, 2006:  p.10


March 2006

Projects Planned for Edinburgh Waterfront

Plans currently being considered by Forth Ports Authority for Edinburgh Waterfront include:

-  a new cruise liner terminal.

-  extension of Ocean Terminal shopping and leisure complex.

-  transformation of VA Tech factory into an art gallery.

-  up to 18,000 new homes.

-  a hotel and casino complex.

-  a concert venue.

Herald & Post:  March 23, 2006:  p.11


March 2006

A New Waterfront Island?

Teardrop-shaped Island?

Proposals were announced in 2004 to create 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. 

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

Thistle-shaped Island - proposed

However, following criticism of the initial plans, the latest proposals, at March 2006, are to create a more craggy island, possibly in the shape of a thistle, the national emblem of Scotland.

Edinburgh Evening News  March 22, 2006:  p.3

Palm-shaped Island - comparison

An article in the Edinburgh Evening News on March 22, 2006 - headline: "Thistle be a real fantasy island" - compared the proposed island in the Firth of Forth with Palm Island,  a man-made island off the coast of Dubai, built in the shape of a date palm.

Liam Rudden, writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, three days later asked:

"So what does Dubai have that the proposed Edinburgh Waterfront doesn't?   Simply, sunshine"

Commenting on Edinburgh's weather, he said:

"As anyone who has ever stood by the weather-beaten old lighthouse that guards the entrance to Newhaven Harbour, well wrapped up against the howling easterly winds and driving sleet that sweep in off the Forth will know, Edinburgh's waterfront can be an inhospitable place."

Edinburgh Evening News  March 25, 2006:  p.13

Thistle-shaped Island - shelved

City of Edinburgh planners have rejected developers' proposals to create a new thistle-shaped island in the Firth of Forth to the west of Granton Harbour.  They have told developers that they should first concentrate on developing existing land.

Waterfront Edinburgh received this message from the planners without ever having submitted a formal application for the island to the  to the City of Edinburgh planning committee.

Alan Couper, planning chief at Waterfront Edinburgh said: "The idea is pretty much now dead.  We hope we may be able to return to it but it will not be for a very long time."

Edinburgh Evening News  September 25, 2006:  p.9


September 2006

New Images from Waterfront Edinburgh

Telford College

Edinburgh's Telford College near the SW corner of the Waterfront development opened in September 2006.

New Images

New images of proposed future developments have  been released by Waterfront Edinburgh.  Developments proposed include:

-  A water feature 'snaking down to the Firth of Forth, to be lit up at night', to begin 2007.

-  A new Concert Hall, expected to be built at Granton, Newhaven or Leith.

-  A 'culture hub' around the old lighthouse.

Edinburgh Marathon  -  June 2004  -  Passing the Lighthouse ©

-  Shops on West Harbour Road.

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Cycling along West Harbour Road  -  6 October 2002 ©

-  Hotels, theatres and offices on land near the Scottish Gas HQ.

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Scottish Gas Office  -  The first new building to be created on the Waterfront site -  22 Jine 2004 ©

-  Exclusive townhouses in the old walled garden  next to Caroline Park House.

Caroline Park, Waterfront, Edinburgh ©

- Residential development on the site of the former Shanks chemical reprocessing plant

Edinburgh Evening News  September 25, 2006:  p.9


September 2006

1500 More Homes?

Former Gasworks Site

Developers, National Grid Properties, say that they now wish to increase the number of new homes  to  be built on the former gasworks site at Granton from 2,000 (in the original blueprint) to 3,500.

This would increase the number of people expected to move to the Waterfront over the next fifteen years from 35,000 (in the blueprint) to almost 40,000.

National Grid Properties claim that the high demand for houses in the area justify this increase.

Others have expressed concern over the increased traffic and possible lack of community facilities that might result from adding so many new homes to the plan.

Edinburgh Evening News  September 25, 2006:  p.9


January 2007

Granton Gasholders

3, 2, 1 Gasholders

Granton Gas works were built around 1900.  At one time it had three large gasholders, prominent landmarks beside the Firth of Forth.

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Three Gasometers  -  19 August 2002 ©

The first of these was dismantled in 2003 and the second was removed in a controlled explosion in 2004.

Edinburgh Waterfront  -  Demolition of one of the gasometers by controlled explosion  -  15 August 2004  -  Falling! ©

The third gasholder is now 106 years old.   It  had a capacity of 7 million cubic feet of gas until gas, but production at Granton ceased in 1987.

The gasholder was 'Listed' by Historic Scotland  in 1998 and so enjoys some protection.

Edinburgh Waterfront  - Gasometers and Poppies  -  30 June 2004 ©

However, Historic Scotland and National Grid Properties recently hired consultants to produce an engineers' report on the gasholder.


Possible Demolition

The engineers' report is understood to have highlighted problems in maintaining the gasholder in a safe state.  Large parts of its latticework structure were described as being "inaccessible".

National Grid Properties which owns the land on which the gasholder stands are now looking at the possibility of demolishing the gasholder.

Views of the local community on whether or not the gasholder should be retained appear to be mixed.

National Grid Properties are understood to be keen to see the gasometer removed, to free up land for new building.


Most of the details above are taken from an article in Evening News  January 6, 2007:  pp.1,3


March 2007

Granton-Newhaven Beach and Promenade

Former Gasworks Site

As part of the long-term vision of a ten-mile promenade along the Firth of Forth between Cramond and Joppa, it has been proposed that sand should be dredged from the Firth of Forth to create a new beach.

A new sea wall, a full width seafront promenade, access points between Granton and Newhaven and a tramway reservation are also proposed.

This project has been discussed between Forth Ports Authority, the principal land owner and the City of Edinburgh Council, but this is likely to be a 15-year project.

Edinburgh Evening News  March 21, 2007:  p.11


September 2007

Forth Ports' Masterplan

Leith Docks

30-year plan

Forth Ports has submitted a 30-year plan for the regeneration of Leith Docks to the City of Edinburgh Council for outline planning permission.  It is the largest planning application ever to have come before the council.  It proposes creating on their 144 hectare site:

-  16,000  homes (including 4,000 'affordable units') in 9 'urban villages'.

-  shops, leisure facilities and a major new concert hall.

-  12,000 new jobs.

Forth Ports' proposals have been welcomed by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and business leaders.  Independent assessors have estimated that the proposed developments at Western Harbour and Granton will attract £5.6 billion of private investment.

Local organisations, politicians and others have stressed the importance of maintaining a sense of community in Leith.  The large number of one and two bedroom apartments now being created there could lead to a very transient population.

Other Developments

Other developments that have been considered include:

-   doubling the size of Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

 - creating a cruise liner terminal to attract 150 ships a year to Edinburgh.  In 2007, about 50 ships visited Edinburgh

-  building a 30-storey hotel and flats complex.  This would become the tallest building in Edinburgh.

-  creating a 12-metre high steel  "crow's nest viewing platform", inspired by Leith's shipbuilding history, beside Albert Dock.  This would cost up to £250,000.

Visitors would be able to climb onto the structure to gain views of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.  It would also have information panels about the history of Leith and future plans for Edinburgh's Waterfront.

Edinburgh Evening News  September 4, 2007  pp.1, 12, 13

Edinburgh Evening News  September 5, 2007  pp.22, 23

Edinburgh Evening News  August 30,, 2007: p.7 (The "Crow's Nest")

Edinburgh Evening News  September 6, 2007: p.5 (The "Crow's Nest")

Around Ocean Terminal

10-year plan

Further details of Forth Ports' plans for for development of the area around Ocean Terminal, over the next ten years, have now been announced.  A detailed outline planning application to be submitted ot the council in spring 2008.

Proposals include:

-  creating a 'leisure village' and a new marina, and possibly moving The Royal Yacht Britannia across Western Harbour to berth beside a new pier to the west of where  the cruise liners now berth.

Liners up to 50,000 tonnes would continue to berth at Western Harbour and larger liners would berth at a new liner terminal.

-   creating two new public parks and a public square.

-   building two 'towering new landmarks' expected to house hotels, luxury flats and up to 1000 new homes.  These would be built on new piers in Western Harbour.

-   building new apartments, some on stilts above the water on the northern edge of Victoria Dock.  The Scottish Government 's headquarters are on the southern edge of Victoria Dock.

-  creating a new commercial district with office blocks, shops and walkways, between Ocean Terminal and The Scottish Government's headquarters.

Edinburgh Evening News,  October 29, 2007  pp.8, 9


October 2007

Near Granton Harbour

In March 2005, architects RMJM announced plans to build an 'Eco-Tower' with energy created from 50 wind turbines slung between two towers, on the site of William Waugh's scrap yard in West Granton Road, on the western side of Granton Square.

It has been argued that this site, close to the entrance to Granton Harbour should be used for a landmark building of some sort.

However plans for the Eco-Tower are not now to go ahead and it has been announced that, instead, 143 "low cost" flats are to be built on the site.

Edinburgh Evening News  October 27, 2007: p.4


December 2007

More Family Homes

Waterfront Edinburgh (a company set up by Edinburgh Council and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh & Lothian) has announced that it has scaled down its plans for the Waterfront.

The company intend to replace its 15-year plan by a 10-year plan, to be presented to councillors next week.  The plan will include more three-bedroom flats and town houses for families, and fewer one-bedroom and two-bedroom luxury flats.

Edinburgh Evening News  December 12, 2007: p.7


March 2008


It is proposed to start work in 2009 on a plaza area at Portobello.  This will be Phase 1 of a 30-year plan to create a 10-mile promenade along the Firth of Forth from Cramond to Portobello. 

In creating the plan for this promenade, developers are reported to have visited promenades in Malmo, Copenhagen, Portsmouth and  Cardiff Bay, and to have studied others in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Western Australia.

The proposals include:

- CRAMOND:  public art work, a shelter for hosting cycle races, and possibly a bridge across the Almond to replace the ferry that stopped operating a few years ago, and an improved walkway to Silverknowes.

-  GRANTON:  barbecue facilities, shelter and new ramp to the beach, to the west of the harbour, shelters, Café/restaurant, new beach between Granton and Newhaven Harbours.

- LEITH:  Lighthouse Park at Western Harbour, new bridge linking Western Harbour and Leith Docks, new plaza and ramp to the beach from Leith Docks.

-  SEAFIELD:  new bridge and raised walkway.

-  PORTOBELLO:  New plazas on the promenade, improvements to the promenade and new ramps to the beach.

Some of the promenade are scheduled to be completed in phases 1 and 2 (ending in 2013 and 2018). 

Other parts of the promenade including most of the route around  Granton Harbour and on to Newhaven and Seafield are scheduled to be completed in phases 3 and 4 (ending in 2028 and 2038). 

Edinburgh Evening News  March 4, 2008:  p.18.


March 2008

Concert Venue

Consultants have announced that they are drawing up plans for a major new concert, conference and exhibition venue which would become part of a new 'cultural quarter' at Leith Docks.

A city council source said that a number of options were under consideration, but the £100m Millenneum Centre in Cardiff, which opened in 2004, was the closest to what they were aiming for.

Edinburgh Evening News  March 7, 2008:  p.17.


March 2008

Tall Buildings

A major development plan for Leith Docks proposes to eventually create nearly 16,000 new homes.

Current proposals include one tall building, up to 28 stories high.  However Edinburgh Council and Historic Scotland have spoken of the need to restrict the creation of tall buildings in order to protect the city's skyline and ensure that views to and from Edinburgh landmarks are not spoilt.

Edinburgh Evening News  March 19, 2008 AND

Edinburgh Evening News  March 21, 2008:  p.11.

July 2008

Western Harbour Park

Work is scheduled to begin in early-2009 on creating Western Harbour Park, a semi-circular park between Leith Western Breakwater and Western Harbour.

The NW edge of the park was reclaimed from Leith Western Harbour several decades ago.  It will include sports facilities and a children's play area.  The remainder of the park was reclaimed more recently and is expected to see settlement of up to a metre over the next decade.  Landscaped gardens are to be created there.

Next Generation sports and leisure complex and  apartments including Platinum Point have already been built close to the Firth of Forth to the NW of the park.  An Asda supermarket is due to open soon, to the south of the park.

Edinburgh Evening News, Jul 24, 2008:  p.5.

August 2008


Approval Recommended

Edinburgh Council's Head of Planning, Alan Henderson, has recommended that the council's planning committee should approve the Masterplan for Leith Docks at its meeting next week.

This Masterplan is the largest planning application ever to have come before the council.  It proposes the creation nine new 'urban villages' and  over 15,000 new homes on 350 acres of industrial land  in Leith Docks over the next 20-30 years.

However, the council's requirements are expected to include:

-  At least 30% of the housing to be 'family housing' with 3 or more bedrooms.

-  a new secondary school for 1,000 pupils.

-  three new primary schools for a total of over 1,300 pupils.

-  a new swimming pool, sports hall, pitches and skatepark.

-  a contribution of £34m for transport improvements.

Fife Council had called for a hovercraft terminal to be included for crossings between Fife and Leith.

Historic Scotland has expressed concern about the height of the buildings, many of which would have eight or more floors, with one having up to 28 floors.

Edinburgh Evening News, August 21,, 2008:  pp.10,11..

Plans approved

Edinburgh Council's planning committee gave outline planning permission to the Masterplan for Leith Docks, after more than five hours of discussion at their meeting this week.

The committee has asked the developers to aim at making the development carbon neutral.  The development is to include homes, shops, offices, parks, schools and a cultural quarter.

The developers have agreed to reduce the height of some of the buildings from six storeys to three and not to build other homes, so reducing the number of homes by 700, in order to protect the flight path of a colony of 1,000 pairs of terns.

A Masterplan for 'The Hub', the area around Ocean Terminal, is expected to be published later in 2008.


Edinburgh Evening News, August 28,, 2008:  p.25
Edinburgh Evening News, August 29,, 2008:  p.7.

September 2008

Granton Developments

6 years late

Waterfront Edinburgh Ltd, owners of land at Granton due to be developed as part of the Edinburgh Waterfront project, have admitted that the recent fall in property values and credit crisis has resulted in the value of their land falling from £33m in 2006 to 14.5m today.

They have been in talks with a range of long-term investors, but admit that if they are unable to find developers, the project may be mothballed until conditions improve.

The original completion date for the 2,900 home development project at Granton was 2017, but this has already been put back to 2023.

There is some concern that this may result in the proposed tram line from Roseburn to Granton not going ahead.

Edinburgh Evening News, September 15, 2008, p.5.

December 2008

 Edinburgh Harbour

Development Plan

Forth Ports, today, released a £700m development plan for the area they have named 'Edinburgh Harbour'.  The plan includes:

-   up to five new hotels, including one 16-storeys high with 1,000 rooms.

-   1,870 new homes, including 467 'affordable homes.

-   a new home for The Royal Yacht Britannia, 200 yards west of its current site.

-   a waterside esplanade with shops and restaurants.

-   two new piers for small cruise ships.

-   an expansion of Ocean terminal.

-   two multi-storey car parks, to house 3867 vehicles.

-   new cycleways, parks, gardens, civic squares and a tram plaza.

-   a marina with a cross-Forth ferry base

-   a new office district with 99,000 sq meters of office accommodation, beside the Scottish Government offices at Victoria Quay.

Edinburgh Evening News, December 6, 2008, p.10

March  2009

Development Problems

Gregor Shaw

Gregor Shaw has built new apartments on the Waterfront:

-  Platinum Point at Leith Western Harbour.

-  Anchor at Granton Marina.

The company has planning permission to build a further 230 apartments beside Platinum Point  and a further 155 apartments beside Anchor.

Administrators, Deloitte, believe that there is little demand for these developments in the current climate, so is preparing to submit a new planning application that is likely to feature more family homes rather than luxury flats.

Forth Ports

Forth Ports, earlier this week, admitted difficulty in finding development partners.  Its land values have now fallen from £222m to £60m.


Edinburgh Evening News, March 19, 2009, p.23

June 2009

Public Cash Needed

Walkway and Ferry Terminal

Forth Ports, the company behind the development of the Waterfront, say that they are keen to create a waterside walkway and start work on a cross-Forth ferry terminal, even though no firm has yet committed to running a ferry service.

However, the company says that, but if no public funding is available, these projects will have to be halted.  It hopes to acquire £50m funding from the Edinburgh Council's new Tax Incremental Financing Scheme.

Edinburgh Evening News, June 20, 2009, p.4

July 2009

New Hotel

250-Bedroom Hotel

Plans have been unveiled for a £20m, 250-bedroom hotel to be built close to the office block, Ocean Point One, beside Ocean Terminal.

The hotel would be  120 yards from the tram stop on the new tram plaza soon to be built at Ocean Terminal.

Forth Ports hope that this project will kick-start the developments as part of their £700m proposals for Leith Docks over the next 20 years.

Edinburgh Evening News, July 18, 2009, p.9

 July 2009

Demarco Galleries

Arts impresario, Richard Demarco has built up his modern art collection over the past fifty years.  He hopes, now,  to created a permanent gallery to house his collection, which he plans to gift to the Nation.

This collection includes over 5,000 major items relating to literature, theatre and the visual arts.  It is currently in temporary storage at Skateraw, near Dunbar, East Lothian.

Richard Demarco has selected a site  at the Waterfront, to the south of Caroline Park and on the south side of Waterfront Avenue, to house his collection.

Linlithgow-based architects EK:JN have drawn up plans to create a £3m complex, including galleries, library, digital archive, Café, lake and landscaped gardens.  They are now applying for grants to help meet the estimated £3m cost.

It is proposed that there would be close links with nearby Telford College.

The collection also includes thousands of photographs, many documenting the 60-year history of the Edinburgh Festival.  These photos have been digitised by Dundee University, thanks to a grant from the Arts Council.


Edinburgh Evening News, July 24, 2009, p.8

August 2009

Regeneration from 2012

Forth Ports had previously admitted that work on their 30-year masterplan was unlikely to get going again until the economy started to pick up.

However Chief Executive, Charles Hammond believes that the right time to start the planned urban villages in Leith Docks is 2012, to coincide with the start-up of the new trams.

Edinburgh Evening News, Aug 28, 2009


February 2010

£84m investment

Edinburgh Council has announced that it intends to help restart development of the Waterfront by investing £84m.  Projects funded would include a new cruise liner terminal, a riverside esplanade, a new berth for Britannia, and a new link road between Seafield Road and Constitution Street..

The £84m would be obtained through a new TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) scheme, borrowing the money against future increases in business rates expected from the new developments.  Such schemes are popular in the USA but have not yet been used in the UK.

Edinburgh Evening News, February 18, 2010, pp.6,7


Edinburgh Waterfront  -   Announcements   -  up to 2005