6 Development Principles


  • 6.1The key concern of the brief is to set out the main planning and design principles on which development opportunities and improvements to the road layout and public realm should be based. The western section of the site is closely linked to the Fountainbridge Development Brief as it relates to Lochrin Basin and its environs. For proposals affecting the area to the west of Ponton Street and Thornybauk, it is recommended that reference is also made to the Fountainbridge Brief, in particular paras 8.8 – 8.11 and Figure 12.

  • 6.2The brief seeks to achieve the following inter-related objectives:
  • improve pedestrian linkages between Tollcross and the Union Canal.
  • reduce the amount of space given over to vehicular traffic and car parking use and in so doing make pedestrian movement safer and more attractive and enhance the public realm.
  • support appropriate redevelopment opportunities for uses compatible with the mixed use character of the area.
  • encourage proposals which would strengthen the vitality and viability of Tollcross town centre.
  • 6.3In order to achieve these objectives, proposals should take account of the following considerations.

Improve Pedestrian Linkages

  • 6.4The opportunity exists to create stronger pedestrian links between Tollcross and the Union Canal. Achieving this aim will have a number of benefits:
  • it will encourage people living, working and socialising in the Fountainbridge area to go to Tollcross, which will help support local shops and businesses.
  • it will make the canal and it environs more accessible for Tollcross residents
  • it will improve accessibility to the new public transport interchange facilities at Tollcross.

Reduce Amount of Road Space

  • 6.5The area around Thornybauk, West Tollcross and Ponton Street is dominated both visually and functionally by road space and vehicular traffic movements. The area has a number of one way streets which have unnecessarily wide road space, where footways could be more generous. The opportunity exists to reclaim some of this road space for use by pedestrians, for open space purposes or for built development.

Mixed Use Redevelopment

  • 6.6This area is identified as a Mixed Activities Zone in the adopted Central Edinburgh Local Plan and therefore a range of uses which reflect the character of this area and its central location in close proximity to the City Centre. In particular, proposals for residential and/or office development are likely to be acceptable. Careful consideration will require to be given to the impact of commercial leisure development or other uses which can lead to late night activity on the amenity of local residents.

Development Opportunities

  • 6.7Figure 4 illustrates the four areas where development opportunities have been identified.

  • 6.8Zone 1 - This lies within the grounds of the existing fire station. The site offers the opportunity for the expansion of the fire station or a stand alone development. Any building should seek to create a positive ground floor to West Tollcross. The building should take pedestrian access from West Tollcross and vehicular access from Dunbar Street, if required. The mass of the building should be subservient to the adjacent Methodist Central Hall and the use of natural stone is encouraged.

  • 6.9Zone 2 - This site contains buildings of varying uses and massing, including a number which are of architectural merit. However, through site assembly and major redevelopment, this zone could make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the area. Any redevelopment should seek to strengthen the enclosure to Home Street and present a primary frontage to Thornybauk to address the proposed public space. The mass of the buildings should reflect the scale of neighbouring tenements and the use of natural stone is encouraged. If car parking is required, it should be located under the building or under adjacent open space.

  • 6.10Zone 3 - This site contains an electrical sub station and area of green space. Whilst development opportunities may be less obvious, the continuation of the tenement and development over the substation could be explored. Due to its location fronting both Thornybauk and West Port, and being on axis with Ponton Street, this site provides an opportunity to create a building of distinction. Any new building will also fulfil an important role in terms of punctuating the view from Home Street and framing the edge to the proposed public space.

  • 6.11Zone 4 - This site contains student residential units which are currently occupied. The brief does not actively propose the redevelopment of this site. Rather its purpose is to provide guidance, should an opportunity for redevelopment arise in the future. Redevelopment of this site should seek to:
  • improve pedestrian access from West Tollcross to Lochrin basin and Fountainbridge
  • enhance the setting of Tollcross Primary school and positively address Fountainbridge and West Tollcross.

Tollcross Town Centre

  • 6.12The Council has recently commissioned a study to undertake a "health check" of Tollcross town centre and identify an action plan for public and private sector investment. Better linkages to and from the canal area should bring economic benefits for businesses in Tollcross and help support the future role of the town centre.

  • 6.13Tollcross lies at the intersection of views from Bruntsfield Place, the Union Canal and Lauriston Place. The introduction of a public art feature at this intersection would provide a visual acknowledgement of the importance of Tollcross. In order to achieve the visual impact of a focal point, when viewed from these key points, the public art would need to be as high as the existing buildings.

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