Leith’s Ocean Terminal receives unanimous approval for multi-million pound regeneration project

Ocean Terminal Waterfront View Design by Keppie

Edinburgh’s City Council has unanimously greenlit a transformative Ocean Terminal Masterplan, a £250 million investment for Leith’s waterfront. 

THE plan, developed and refined in collaboration with the local community since 2020, encompasses new homes, community amenities, and public spaces. The approved Phase 2, following 2022’s consent for part-demolition, outlines a pedestrian-centric waterfront, mixed-use community spaces, and high-quality public realms. Ambassador Investment Management, owner of Ocean Terminal, emphasises the development’s community-centric focus, addressing housing needs, fostering sustainability, and integrating with Council priorities.

During the City of Edinburgh Council’s Development Management Sub-Committee hearing, councillors lauded the meticulous approach to detail and alignment with housing provision, green space, community amenity, and sustainability priorities. Chris Richardson, Managing Director of Ambassador Investment Management, expressed delight at the approval, emphasising the community-centric development, slated to meet housing needs, enhance Leith’s vibrancy, and embed sustainability.

Richardson said, “the result of our collaborative engagement with local stakeholders is a development which puts community front and centre. Our plans will meet Edinburgh’s housing needs during a housing emergency, support the vibrancy of Leith waterfront with the creation of new commercial units, serve our community through various amenities including a supermarket and medical centre, and embed sustainability.” 

The proposed transformation garnered widespread support, representing a collaborative effort involving residents, businesses, elected representatives, and planning officers. With over 530 new homes offering diverse tenure options, the Masterplan aims to create a vibrant neighbourhood while contributing to the Leith waterfront’s economic vitality. The development will also create over 600 jobs and provide further opportunities during construction, reinforcing its positive impact on the local economy.

Ocean Terminal Courtyard View Design by Keppie

Brendan Reilly, President of Leith Chamber of Commerce, praised the consent, anticipating the transformation’s contribution to the cosmopolitan and European ambiance of Leith. The Masterplan, designed by Keppie Design, re-imagines the existing retail centre, emphasising residential-led, mixed-use development, challenging the trend of retail demolition. The project aligns with sustainability objectives, promoting brownfield land use, local living, and compact urban growth.

Reilly spoke about the matter, saying, “we at the Leith Chamber of Commerce are delighted to hear that the proposed transformation of Ocean Terminal has gained consent. The redevelopment of this area will improve and add significant enjoyment value to the cosmopolitan and European feel that visitors and residents alike already experience when spending time in this thriving area that is Leith.”

Neil Whatley, Associate Director at Keppie Design which developed the architectural design of the proposals, said, “Keppie is delighted that the City of Edinburgh Council has approved the proposals for Phase 2 of the re-imaging of the existing retail centre, securing its future retention and operation as a key local amenity and introducing a new, residential-led, mixed-use neighbourhood.

Colin Smith, Director, Head of Planning Scotland at Turley, acting for Ambassador Investment Management, highlighted the development’s significance in Ocean Terminal and Leith’s regeneration.

“This approval marks a significant milestone in Ocean Terminal and Leith’s regeneration, completing the strategic reshaping of Ocean Terminal from an inward-looking, retail and leisure driven commercial centre, to an outward-looking, mixed-use town centre. Smith said, marking a transformative shift from a retail-focused centre to a mixed-use town centre, contributing to Edinburgh’s wider urban connectivity.

This transformative project, spanning residential, commercial, and public spaces, symbolises a collaborative commitment to Leith’s future, integrating historical richness with modern functionality and sustainability.

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