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11 November 2016

Consultation on listing of famed Leith ‘banana flats’

Residents asked for their opinion on listing of iconic flats

Side view of Cables Wynd House (aka "Banana Flats") in Leith, Edinburgh, with a basketball court also in the frame

The Edinburgh flats made famous as the home of one of the main characters in Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’, could be in line to become the latest iconic capital building to receive ‘listed’ status.

Historic Environment Scotland are set to stage a consultation event in Leith next month about the post-war building - Cables Wynd House (known as the banana flats due to their distinctive curved shape) and the neighbouring Linksview House, both largely owned by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Residents are being invited to participate in the consultation about listing both buildings, by attending the consultation event or submitting their views by email.

Cables Wynd House was made famous for its ‘role’ in the Irvine Welsh book where it featured as the childhood home of the character, Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson.

Along with the 10-storey building Linksview House, the ‘Banana Flats’ mark an important period in the city – and Scotland’s social housing landscape. The blocks are a familiar sight in the skyscape of Leith since residents first moved into the buildings in 1960s.

Front view of Cables Wynd House (aka "Banana Flats") in Leith, Edinburgh

A proposal to consider the property for listing by Historic Environment Scotland has reached an initial view that the building may meet the criteria as a category A listed property, meaning that it would be recognised as being of national importance. However the organisation is keen to consult with residents so that their views are considered as part of the process.

Historic Environment Scotland’s Deputy Head of Listing, Dawn McDowell commented:

“Scotland is renowned for its rich architectural heritage. While our palaces, abbeys and castles are a key part of this, they are only a fraction of our diverse historic environment which ranges from industrial buildings to the homes we live in.

“Cables Wynd House and Linksview House were innovative, ground-breaking designs at the time when they were built and offered a new vision for social housing and for those who lived in them.

“A key aim of listing is to recognise the special architectural importance of these buildings as well as celebrating and sharing their wider social and cultural role.

We are keen to hear from as many residents as possible during the consultation – and others with an interest in the buildings – and look forward to working with them during this process.”

Residents of Cables Wynd House and Linksview House will receive a letter from Historic Environment Scotland regarding the consultation. Residents and owners are also invited to attend an informal drop-in meeting on 6 December at Leith Library, on Ferry Road from 4-7pm.

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. More information about listing can be found on our website.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

Follow Historic Environment Scotland

Twitter: @HistEnvScot | @welovehistory 

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For further information, please contact:

Alan Bannon
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8588
Mobile: 07854 366 805
alan.bannon@hes.scot

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