Plans for the regeneration of the Wester Hailes area have taken a big step forward.
The City of Edinburgh Council today announced the appointment of the consultancy team that will work with the community to translate their vision into a masterplan for the area.
This important commission has been awarded to a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by Turner & Townsend, who will act as project managers, together with partners Stallan Brand (architects, lead designer and community engagement), Atelier 10 (building services and sustainability), OOBE (landscape architects) and Goodson Associates (engineering and transportation).
Setting out a comprehensive, phased approach for the next 10 to 15 years, the Wester Hailes masterplan will build on community aspirations as set out in the Local Place Plan as well as a number of early action projects that are already under way. These include improvements to existing Council homes and estates, delivery of new-build affordable homes at Dumbryden Gardens, early design work for the replacement of the high school, as well as improvements to Westside Plaza.
The plan will seek to maximise distinctive characteristics of the area including its canal-side location, existing assets, opportunities for wider economic and social benefits and the role of key partners and the local community.
Working with the Council and the community, the masterplan team will look at opportunities to implement improvements to existing transport and active travel infrastructure, new housing-led developments and adapting public sector delivery models, all firmly rooted in the Council’s new 20 Minute Neighbourhood model.
Wester Hailes is also one of the first communities in Scotland to start to develop its own Local Place Plan following their introduction within the Planning (Scotland) Act in 2019.
City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Adam McVey, said:
This is a hugely important project that will offer real opportunities for people in Wester Hailes. The investments which the masterplan sets out will include improvements to existing homes as well as new affordable housing that is so desperately needed in our city, together with employment opportunities and facilities for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area to prosper.
Throughout the development of the masterplan we will look to actively engage with people in Wester Hailes and nearby communities to feed in to help these improvements benefit everyone.
The appointment of the right team to take the community’s ambitions for their area forward was critical and we believe the award-winning team, led by Turner & Townsend will meet our goals. We look forward to working together with the team and community as the masterplan develops over the coming year.
Depute Leader, Cammy Day, said:
It’s fantastic to be getting this regeneration project under way with this key appointment. A priority for us, on awarding this commission, has been to engage fully with the local community and ensure that the Council’s regeneration programme reflects the aspirations, ideas and actions emerging from the Local Place Plan process to date.
The community consultation process will include speaking to key public sector partners, those who have assets within the area, those who use existing land and buildings on a long-term or meanwhile basis, and the communities within the regeneration area and surrounding neighbourhoods. All this will be fundamental to the overall success of the proposals the team produce for us to take forward to the next phase.
James Darrie, Director and Edinburgh office leader at Turner & Townsend, said:
From upgrading transport systems to delivering new affordable homes, this much needed regeneration promises to bring transformative long-term benefits to the Wester Hailes area. Our local team will work closely with the community to ensure it becomes the thriving and flourishing neighbourhood that residents want and deserve.
Eoghan Howard, Chair of Wester Hailes Community Trust and Leah Black, Chief Executive at WHALE Arts said:
We welcome the news that Turner & Townsend have been appointed and that this important project will be starting in 2021. WHALE Arts, Wester Hailes Community Trust and Prospect Housing have been working alongside the Council for the last 18 months following a piece of work in 2019/2020 working towards a Local Place Plan.
The goal has been to ensure that the community-led Local Place Plan will be aligned to the regeneration project so that local views and ideas are at the heart of changes and improvements to the area. This builds on the Westside Plaza design process which was led by the Wester Hailes Community Trust and has resulted in an improved social area, giving local residents an idea of how important it is for regeneration to be led by people living in the area.