Robertson awarded £15m deal to deliver Edinburgh community hub
The City of Edinburgh Council has awarded a £15 million contract for a new community hub at Macmillan Square to Robertson Group.
Forming part of the council’s ongoing multi-million-pound regeneration programme in North Edinburgh, the project will now enter the construction phase following the successful completion of the demolition of Muirhouse Library.
The first of its kind in the city, and designed by Richard Murphy Architects, The Hub will be a place to learn, work, meet people, hone new skills and have fun. The state-of-the-art shared building will accommodate an early year’s centre for 185 children, a new library and will provide additional space for North Edinburgh Arts and will ensure that it continues to be at the centre of a creative, connected and inspired community.
The community hub is the focal point of one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in Scotland, tackling poverty and inequality in the area. It will be the flagship building at Macmillan Square which is currently being developed to provide a new square, 154 affordable homes and 13 retail units.
Over £200m of public and private sector investment has been committed to revitalising the area for the wider community and this investment has already delivered Craigroyston High School, Pennywell All Care Centre and over half of the expected 1,000 new homes.
The North Edinburgh Regeneration project is recognised as a model of good practice in urban regeneration having won national awards for design, place making and community engagement. The new hub benefits from £2m Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grants Fund.
Complementing the council’s new library, early years centre and affordable housing, the new hub will see arts and learning brought together under one roof in a striking new building offering the community in North Edinburgh an extensive range of services. This will include new enterprise, workshop, learning and creative studio space, alongside an expanded café, youth area and shared atrium.
Work to demolish the former Muirhouse Library started in October 2021 and following last week’s decision, construction on the new hub will start in April this year. The project will also include a comprehensive package of additional community benefits shaped by the local community and delivered by Robertson.
Whilst the hub is under construction the library will operate from nearby Edinburgh College in Granton.
City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey, said: “The new building is an important part of the £200m regeneration of Pennywell and Muirhouse that’s already seen significant investment by the Council and its partners, including Scottish Government to build new Council houses and affordable homes to build a community with strong local facilities in line with our aspirations for 20-minute neighbourhoods. Jointly led by the Council and North Edinburgh Arts, this is a great example of community empowerment showing how great value can be added to an area while supporting our landmark priorities as a Council to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030, as well as enhancing wellbeing and equality for our residents.
“Key aspects include the new local library which we hope will act as a community living room, open and accessible to everyone. The new building also creates the opportunity to work closely with the new nursery to have as much interaction with the children, parents and staff as possible – providing tailored events and sessions especially for those using and working in the nursery.”
Council depute leader, Cammy Day, said: “The North Edinburgh Regeneration project is a major success story for the area, for the city and for Scotland and it’s so exciting to see this final element hitting a major milestone. This joint project with North Edinburgh Arts will create a unique facility at the heart of the community. The new Early Learning and Childcare Centre will provide quality and accessible early years spaces for local children. This will allow us to meet our commitments to making early years provision more flexible, to fit family needs, and deliver 1,140 hours a year of free early learning and childcare for all three- and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds.
“As part of the wider regeneration of this area we’re delivering 1,000 affordable homes as part of our pledge to deliver 20,000 affordable new homes in the city by 2027, which will make a substantial difference for people seeking a safe and permanent place to call home in Scotland’s Capital.”
Regional managing director, Robertson Construction – Central East, David Cairns, added: “Having worked closely with the City of Edinburgh Council over the last 24 months to assist bringing Macmillan Square forward, we are delighted to be to the contractor of choice to make this innovative vision by the council a reality. The building will undoubtedly be a fantastic facility for the community when complete and our planned programme of community benefits during the construction phase will bring further benefits to the area socially, economically and environmentally long after the building is completed.”