Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


New allotments for New Town

An overgrown corner of the New Town is set to be a community allotment and garden.

Mar 14, 2011

The site at MacKenzie Place has lain neglected since 1967 when a row of Georgian tenements were demolished, leaving behind only a line of bricked-up cellars. Edinburgh World Heritage has now awarded a grant of £41,000 to help transform it into a community allotment and garden.

The City of Edinburgh Council working in partnership with local residents now plans to turn the waste ground into allotments, using the grant from EWH to transform the cellars into storage space for tools. Half of the allotments will be offered to local residents and half to a waiting list, with a steering group set up to help manage the site. Local schools will also have an opportunity to get involved by taking on an allotment space for pupils to use.

Below: Mackenzie Place circa 1950 with Georgian tenements.

Mackenzie Place c.1950Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: "A touch of lateral thinking means that rather than building a mass of allotment sheds, we're able to use a relatively small grant to bring these redundant cellars back into use after 40 years as an altogether more elegant form of storage. We're delighted to be able to support the community of the World Heritage Site in this way, and reduce the distance people have to travel to allotments, while tidying up a previously unloved space."

Work has already started on clearing the site of undergrowth and investigating the soil conditions. Sections of a retaining wall will also be restored, and the cellars opened up and repaired with new doors fitted.

Local resident Kate Kelly said: “I am delighted to see that after so many years this unsightly and neglected patch of land is to be returned to practical use. Allotments would seem to be the best possible use of the space and it is gratifying to know that Edinburgh World Heritage are giving their support.  I hope it will encourage local residents to become more involved with the care and maintenance of their surroundings.”

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