Drum gets long-awaited green light for Leith Walk proposals

A long-running planning saga regarding the redevelopment of a key development site on Leith Walk looks set for a successful conclusion for Drum Property Group.

Drum gets long-awaited green light for Leith Walk proposals

Image courtesy of Halliday Fraser Munro

The company’s latest proposals for Stead’s Place, near the foot of Leith Walk, were today approved by the City of Edinburgh Council, heralding a major regeneration of the 2.9-acre site.

The Stead’s Place site has been earmarked for development by the council since 2008 and consists largely of an aged industrial estate and office space, together with a two-storey sandstone building facing directly on to Leith Walk. Drum will now replace the existing industrial units with 148 high-quality apartments, including 38 affordable homes, as part of an attractive landscaped residential scheme linking to Pilrig Park and beyond.

The sandstone building, a bone of contention within previous plans, will be retained and refurbished and made available for commercial occupation, providing a vibrant local retail and business frontage onto Leith Walk.

The planning consent is the culmination of four years of research, planning and local community engagement by Drum since the company first purchased the site in 2017. The current proposal follows a comprehensive six-month consultation programme with the local residential and business community, with almost three-quarters of those consulted either supportive or neutral about the revised plans.

Welcoming the planning approval, Graeme Bone, group managing director of Drum, said: “Drum has worked hard to ensure our current proposals are aligned with the objectives and plans of local community groups. We listened carefully to their views, enabling us to draw on the positive characteristics of the surrounding area to create a real sense of place that features a mix of private and affordable housing with a refurbished, vibrant and dynamic retail frontage facing Leith Walk.

“Our proposals will replace old and tired industrial, office and retail space with new, more flexible, higher quality accommodation for people to live, work, shop, eat, drink and to be entertained in - as well as opening up a safe and landscaped thoroughfare connecting Leith Walk to Pilrig Park. We believe we have responded directly to the objectives and vision the community has for the site. Our proposals now offer the optimum solution for all parties, providing a refurbished retail and office parade combined with a new community of housing to the rear, set in landscaped grounds, enhancing the area’s distinctive cultural feel and identity.”

Drum said it is now committed to ensuring the shop frontages on to Leith Walk retain the current individual style and size, reflecting and supporting the current local small trader units at the site whilst refurbishing the office suites for rent on the first floor in a revamped business centre offering.

Mr Bone added: “By retaining and refurbishing the red sandstone buildings facing on to Leith Walk, we are also contributing to the wider regeneration of the local area, providing investment to create an attractive and distinctive destination and focal point which is needed now, more than ever, as the local area recovers from lockdown and the new tram works are progressed. Drum are now looking forward to building on the positive and productive relationships established over recent years to deliver a new development that continues the rich tradition of diversity, independence and interest which makes Leith Walk such an exciting destination in which to live, work and visit.”

Stead’s Place development timeline: 


The 2.9-acre Stead’s Place site is first earmarked for development by the City of Edinburgh Council and becomes one of the city’s most prominent gap sites. 

Spring 2017 

Drum Property Group purchases the site. 

Spring 2018 

Drum launches a comprehensive consultation programme - including five days of public exhibitions and setting up a community liaison group 

August 2018 

Drum submits a planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council for a £50 million mixed-use development plan comprising homes, student accommodation and a hotel - plus a row of retail and restaurant/café outlets overlooking Leith Walk replacing the original sandstone building. 

Nov 2018 

Revised proposals are submitted reducing the Leith Walk elevation by one storey to keep the building in line with surrounding tenements. The revised proposals also include a more defined and distinct row for the sandstone retail units as well as increased provision for cyclists and pedestrians. The proposals receive more than 700 letters of public support. 

Jan 23  2019 

The City of Edinburgh Council planning officers recommend approval for Drum’s revised planning application. 

Jan 30  2019 

Despite the council planning officers recommending approval, Drum’s planning application is refused by the City of Edinburgh Council’s planning committee. 

May 2019 

Drum lodges an appeal with the Scottish Government challenging the council’s decision not to grant planning approval for the revised planning application. 

Dec 2019 

The Scottish Government Reporter decides not to uphold Drum’s appeal challenging the City of Edinburgh Council’s decision to refuse planning approval for the Stead’s Place development. 

April 2020 

Drum launches a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) which retains the original sandstone building overlooking Leith Walk, which will be refurbished and made available for a range of commercial uses. The existing industrial units located behind Leith Walk are to be demolished and replaced with a new residential-led landscaped development linking to Pilrig Park and beyond. 

July 2020 

Drum launches an online consultation programme in line with Scottish Government advice following the restrictions in public movement imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Nov 2020  

Following extensive feedback from the first online event, Drum launches a second online consultation event in advance of a planning application being submitted. 

Dec 14 2020 

Drum submits a revised planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council following consultation feedback showing more than 80% of consultees wanted to see the site developed 

June 2021 

The City of Edinburgh Council grants planning consent for Drum’s revised proposals. 

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