One of Edinburgh’s most well-known social enterprise businesses has pledged to be part of new development proposals set to transform a significant section of Leith Walk.
The charity Sikh Sanjog and its affiliated community café Punjabi Junction have agreed to return to their current operating base in Leith Walk following the proposed redevelopment of the local area by Drum Property Group.
The charity and café are amongst a number of current local tenants that Drum are encouraging to relocate to a row of retail, restaurant and entertainment units facing directly on to the Walk, which will form part of the redevelopment.
Both Sikh Sanjog and Punjabi Junction have agreed option agreements to return to the development in 2021 pending planning consents and the completion of the new shop frontages.
Sikh Sanjog has been an established presence in Edinburgh for almost 30 years, supporting and empowering marginalised ethnic minority women by providing the help and skills they need to boost their confidence, realise their human rights and full potential. The charity opened the Punjabi Junction café in 2010 to provide traditional Punjabi home cooked cuisine whilst also giving minority ethnic women training and employment opportunities.
The charity is moving its offices to premises on Graham Street in August. Punjabi Junction will be relocating to new premises as yet unsecured, but several options in the Leith area are being considered, during the proposed redevelopment of the Leith Walk site.
Sikh Sanjog’s move forms part of a drive by Drum to encourage current tenants of the existing shop frontages to return to the site post-redevelopment.
Fife Hyland, Drum’s Communications Director said:
"During our consultation with the local community, it was clear that there was a need to maintain the distinctive and independent feel which makes this part of Leith Walk so special.”
“Having listened to local community concerns, we encouraged current traders to return to the new development once it has been completed, and are offering favourable rents in line with current levels which are significantly lower than market value. We are pleased that Sikh Sanjog and Punjabi Junction recognise the benefits of being part of our new development, and we continue to have very positive discussions with other tenants looking to return.”
Trishna Singh, Founder of Sikh Sanjog and Punjabi Junction said: “Our charity and café have been based on Leith Walk for more than eight years, and it is a very accessible and convenient location for all our clients and customers. We are delighted to have secured temporary accommodation for our charity, and will continue to deliver the much needed services and catering to our stakeholders and customers.”
Hilary Jones, Trustee of Sikh Sanjog, added: “Working in the existing building, we appreciate better than most that it requires modernising and redevelopment - and we are keen to return to brand new premises after relocating for a couple of years.”
Drum will shortly submit a detailed planning application for development of the whole site to the City of Edinburgh Council, which, as well as the Leith Walk shop frontage block, includes a medium-sized industrial estate located directly behind it.
Development proposals include affordable housing operated by Places for People, post-graduate student residences operated by the University of Edinburgh and a hotel and restaurant. Other details include landscaping of the area and opening up a safe and accessible pedestrianised route linking Leith Walk and Pilrig Park.