LEITH, as the port of Edinburgh, and once a proud burgh in its own right, has long had links with the sea, but the latest linkage is the strangest yet.

A host of sea containers are to be reconditioned and sited on a former trams depot in Leith Walk to provide business units and give working space for artists and entrepreneurs.

The Out of the Blue (OOTB) community and arts development organisation will link up with Edinburgh Council to manage the business units to provide usable community space for artists and entrepreneurs. The council stated yesterday: “The aim is to bring back the site into meaningful use by recycling and upgrading sea containers and providing them for creative space until long term plans for the site are secured. The units could include studios for artists and other creative entrepreneurs, a social enterprise café providing employment and training opportunities and a community arts education/retail facility.”

The new life for the former depot is thanks to a £1.3m funding injection from the Scottish Government and the council. The depot was last used for the capital’s former tram system – not to be confused with the current trams – 60 years ago.

Capital grant funding of £750,000 for the project was announced by the Scottish Government and a further £530,000 is being provided by the council, which will enable work to start on-site this year.

The council said: “The project will bring an ‘at risk’ listed building at the front of the site in Leith Walk back into long-term productive use. It will deliver vitally-needed flexible, affordable workspaces for early-stage businesses as well as providing space to create a temporary community services hub for the voluntary and public sectors.

“A street market using reconditioned wooden huts from the former German Christmas market will also animate Leith Walk creating a draw for residents and visitors alike.”