UPDATE 12th May – Internal walls demolished
UPDATE 9th May- Windows revealed
UPDATE 3rd May- Work Starts
L to R. Kyle Purves (All Aspects Building), Cllr Frank Ross, Jim Mcdonaugh ( FoRP ), Pete Gregson (FoRP) and James Whyte (All Aspects Building)
All Aspects Building & Construction Scotland Ltd erected the Heras fencing today which will enclose the toilet block for the next five months- whilst it metamophoses into the new cafe – it should be open sometime in September. Cllr Ross helped secure the lion’s share of the renovation costs from Edinburgh Council- the rest came from residents and small funders (see below). Any concerns? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ORIGINAL POSTING- 22nd March 2022
Work will start in early MAY on refurbishing the derelict toilet block in the park and converting it into a community cafe.
The Friends of Roseburn Park (FoRP) are delighted to announce that after ten long years of trials and tribulations, refurbishment of the derelict toilet block, set in the heart of Roseburn Park, will commence in early May 2022. Conversion of the block into a new café with public toilets should be complete by late summer.
It is anticipated that this new amenity will attract more people to the park, which lies in the shadow of Murrayfield Stadium, with this added attraction to the many sporting activities that take place there, and with café facing onto the FoRP Armoury Mural completed in 2019.
The now derelict toilet block is distinctive; it was built in 1903, designed by the office of the eminent City Architect at the time, Robert Morham, as the park’s pavilion. Later used as a bothy for the park keepers and was converted for additional use as public toilets in 1936. It has been closed since 1982. The refurbishment comes at a welcome time, as the roof is beginning to collapse and nature is taking over the interior, with roots crawling everywhere and trees sprouting from the roof.
The work could never have progressed beyond the initial concept in 2012 without the ceaseless efforts of FoRP Trustees and members who have provided their skills, expertise and time on a wholly voluntary basis. In addition, the support provided by architectural designer Craig Proudfoot of One Foot Square and technical input by Paul Harding has proven invaluable in getting this project off the drawing board.
The refurbishment work will be carried out by All Aspects Building & Construction Scotland ltd under the directorship of James Purves and will be project managed by Craig.
Murrayfield Wanderers Rugby Football Club (MWFC), a key park stakeholder and user, will operate the café. The plan is for the building work to be complete by Autumn 2022, with MWFC opening the café with hot drinks, snacks and ice cream and endeavouring to keep it open as much as is feasible throughout the year. FoRP knows from the Council’s footfall recording devise that 1800 pedestrians and 450 cyclists use the park every day. They believe that the café will draw even more users to enjoy the park, thus helping to make it a year-round going concern.
Funding the refurbishment has been the greatest challenge of all. Following the launch of the Air Raid Protection mural in Sept 2019, the then chairperson, Pete Gregson, organised a crowdfunder, and launched it with this leaflet, stuffed through thousands of local doors (around 6,000 live in the ward; most use the park) by a team of volunteers. The business plan and designs were made available to all at www.friendsofroseburnpark.org.uk/cafeconversion and FoRP, with their “buy a brick” scheme raised a total of £8,864 within 4 months.
This gave FoRP a strong foundation to leverage additional grants: Baillie Gifford Investments (£1,000), Virgin Money Lounge (£2,000) and the Evelyn Drysdale Foundation (£1,500) + (£2,000).
In February 2020, with £13,364 in the kitty, the Trustees proceeded to make application to a variety of public and private sources for the outstanding monies required to fund the project.
This effort culminated in July 2021 with FoRP being awarded £66,000 by City of Edinburgh Council Placed Based Investment Programme. Proposed by The Lord Provost, Councillor Frank Ross, FoRP’s café project was approved for funding by Councillors enabling works to commence spring 2022.
Under the new chairmanship of Jim McDonaugh, FoRP Trustees then engaged in extended and intensive planning in getting the design finalised and the tender package prepared. Around 10 builders were approached to ask if they would be interested in tendering for the works.
In February 2022, negotiations finally completed and preferred supplier status was bestowed upon All Aspects Building & Construction Scotland Ltd. On the 2nd March 2022, FoRP finalised commercial terms with AAB&C and signed the contract with a start date of early May.
Jim McDonaugh said ”At last! This is exactly what our community and park visitors have been waiting for! The refurbished building will be so better than the present eyesore- FoRP are returning the exterior to the way it would have looked when it was first built, 116 years ago- and the interior into a warm and inviting cafe. Visitors will have somewhere to go for a hot drink and a snack – maybe even a light meal- when the work is complete.
It has not been a straight forward project, but working with experienced cafe managers FoRP have come up with a design that gives 30 sq m of floor space as well as a spacious public toilet, kitchen and storage. etc”
Pete Gregson said “It’s been a rollercoaster- on so many occasions I thought we had taken on the impossible; I can’t believe there will still be something to show to my kids in the park that will be there long after I am gone.”
Lord Provost and Ward Councillor Frank Ross said:
“Converting the old toilet block into a café for the whole community to enjoy is a great idea. It will help to support local jobs and volunteering opportunities, while providing a warm and accessible space for local people to meet up.
The conversion, which will include an accessible toilet, has the backing of local residents and I was delighted to secure the Council funding for the FoRP to allow it to proceed.
Additionally, income from the cafe will help to support other projects led by the Friends of Roseburn Park to improve the overall amenity and quality of the Park.”
Further materials on the background to the project can be found here