City of Edinburgh Council and West Town Edinburgh Ltd Agree Joint Approach for the Sustainable Expansion of Edinburgh
Proposals for a new £2 billion, sustainable ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ on 205-acre West Town site set to transform Scotland’s Capital.
West Town Edinburgh Ltd, the development consortium which owns more than 200 acres of prime development land to the west of Edinburgh has agreed a joint approach with the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver a major new ’20-minute neighbourhood’ for the city.
Both parties have agreed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ which sets out how they will work closely together to prepare a delivery strategy for the sustainable expansion of Edinburgh at the West Town site.
The agreement was announced on Tuesday (May 16) by Cammy Day, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council and Graeme Bone, Group Managing Director of Drum Property Group, developers of West Town, at the UK Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum (UKREIIF) in Leeds.
The 205-acre West Town site – located between Ingliston Park and Ride and the Gogar Roundabout at the western gateway of Edinburgh – is one of the most strategically important development areas in Scotland. The £2 billion project presents the opportunity to help meet the housing needs of the nation’s capital whilst delivering a significant sustainable urban expansion for the city. The Edinburgh Tram route runs directly through the site and a new station will be created to ensure the whole development has access to quick and efficient public transport.
The area is identified in the City of Edinburgh Council’s City Plan 2030 as having the potential to become a vibrant, high-density city extension with a capacity for 7,000 homes, along with the commercial and community facilities required for a 20-minute neighbourhood. The proposals for West Town also align with the ambitions of the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4, which was approved in February 2023.
Subject to the development of a delivery strategy as set out by the joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the approval of City Plan 2030, and in accordance with all relevant Council policies and the appropriate planning consents, it is hoped that work will start on site next year, with the first phase of homes and community amenity being ready for occupation from early 2026.
Welcoming the agreement of the MoU, Council Leader Cammy Day said: “Edinburgh is quickly becoming a trailblazer for the type of affordable, sustainable homes our residents need and this overlooked land at West Town could pave the way for thousands more.
“We are leading the way as a city to harness new technologies to make developments greener and fairer – building low and zero carbon homes which are energy and cost efficient – so I’m looking forward to working with West Town to build on our net zero ambitions. Wherever you are in Edinburgh and wherever you choose to go, everyone should feel connected to all of the amenities they need to live well locally, so I’m pleased to see their vision for a 20-minute neighbourhood approach.
“As a council we’ve been modernising planning and procurement policies so that we can maximise the amount of affordable and social housing and community benefits each new development brings. Currently, over 150 households bid for every council and housing association home that becomes available, so we must set our sights on this development unlocking a huge amount social housing. With demand for affordable homes higher than ever before, this is what our city desperately needs.”
Graeme Bone, Group Managing Director of Drum, added: “This agreement is a major step forward in realising the ambition we share with the Council for the area and for the city, further strengthening the long-term collaborative process that is set to deliver a positive and high-quality transformation of the west of Edinburgh.
“The amount of space on the site combined with its superb location allows for a natural extension for the city providing 7000 mixed-tenure homes and new jobs in a new 20-minute neighbourhood. West Town has direct access to some of the best public transport in Scotland – the tram line travels through the site and there are integrated rail, cycle and road connections, creating a strategic gateway to Edinburgh.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Council to advance our shared vision to create a new, sustainable urban quarter for the city.”
Drum is currently delivering a variety of transformative mixed-use projects across Scotland, including the award-winning Buchanan Wharf and Candleriggs Square developments in Glasgow.