The Calders Residents Association has been given the greenlight by the City of Edinburgh Council to proceed to stage two of their Community Asset Transfer of the former janitor’s house in Sighthill Primary, turning the space into an asset for the community.
The group applied to the Scottish Land Fund, successfully, for stage 1 feasibility funding in the latter months of 2020. They appointed Community Enterprise and Lee Boyd architects to lead the feasibility work which involved the creation of a 5 year business plan and funding strategy among other things.
The Business Plan outlined four key areas which the new community space could target:
- A café and gathering space
- A retail outlet, most likely a charity shop
- Services for children and young people
- Multi-purpose space for a variety of community groups
It details that several paid and volunteer positions will be created and that the potential charity shop and cafe could create a financial surplus which could be used to the benefit of the local community. The plan outlines that the building would provide catering training and experience to local people, more room for community activities and that a garden could be built on the grounds.
The current Janitor’s House has been vacant for 10 years for over 10 years and is surrounded by greenspace and millenium woodlands. The building will require a complete renovation and adaptation to bring it into line with any planned uses for it.
The next step will allow the group to work with the Council to complete their Stage Two where they must prove a sustainable business case. Once that is complete they will know whether they can proceed with the further phases of the Community Asset Transfer and ultimately take control of the building. The group are making the case that should Edinburgh Council deem the plan impossible that they provide a suitable alternative as there is a clear demand for more community space.