Leith Fort is a new build residential development located just north of Edinburgh city centre comprising a total of 94 new homes available in a mix of social (32) and mid-market rent (62) delivered on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council and Port of Leith Housing Association respectively.
The development has been constructed upon the site of the historic 18th Century Leith Fort. The 1.7 ha. site was formerly home to a seven-storey tower block located within the confines of the Grade B Listed stone military fort boundary wall.
The new housing masterplan is made up of seven, three-storey blocks of terraces with a typology that reinterprets the form of traditional ‘colony’ housing, a social housing typology found in many neighbourhoods across Edinburgh, with a ground floor single storey flat, and a 2-storey duplex apartment located directly above. This provides a strong mix of housing with each flat having its own front door and its own private south facing garden. A mix of apartments, including 4 fully accessible ground level flats, and 2 townhouses are also provided.
The materials palette consists of a buff coloured facing brick used to create the main massing of the terraced housing. This is complemented with a standing seam metal roofing system and a composite window system generously proportioned to maximise daylight into dwellings and views out. CCG was also able to recycle the stone that was removed from the fort wall. In opening up the site, elements of the wall were removed and then reconstituted for retaining walls and decorative wall features throughout the site.
Social integration was a key element of this project. When previously occupying the site, Fort House was isolated from the surrounding communities due to the building form and the full retention of the Leith Fort wall. The new development was designed to create a stronger community feeling which is done by the choice of house types and the removal of wall sections feeding directly to newly created cycle and pedestrian routes leading to a community green at the centre of the site. Active use is encouraged with the The ‘Living Street’ concept where the impact and dominance of vehicular use is vastly reduced. Each block has been constructed using a mix of traditional block work (ground floor) and the CCG OSM ‘iQ’ closed panel timber frame system. Reaching 3 stories, the ground floor was traditionally built with 2 stories of the ‘iQ’ system thereafter, complimented by the CCG off-site manufactured florr and roof cassettes. The use of this system ensured a swift timber frame erection programme of just 133 days.
Overall, including construction using traditional methods, the entire development was completed wind and watertight in 40 weeks. With a faster speed of delivery, the surrounding community benefited from a reduction in noise pollution and overall, a reduced time spent on site. CCG estimates that if this project was constructed using traditional methods, it would have added a further 60 weeks to the 72-week construction programme.
Working with our clients, CCG performed an extensive array of community benefit initiatives as part of the works at Leith Fort which included employment and training opportunities, work placements, educational tours as well as donating to local charities.
The job and training opportunities for the project included:
Other elements that CCG was able to contribute as part of the project included giving site tours of CCG OSM and Leith Fort to students of Edinburgh Napier University to provide curriculum support; donating to Edinburgh Sick Kids Christmas Appeal 2016, which included £50 worth of toys and donating toward Port of Leith HA’s Gala Days for 2016 and 2017.
City of Edinburgh Council and Port of Leith Housing Association