Building Sale Puts Edinburgh Arts Venue At Risk

Feature by Rosamund West | 24 Feb 2011

The future looks bleak for one of Edinburgh’s last multi-arts venues, The Forest, as it was announced today that a buyer has been found for the building at 3 Bristo Place it has inhabited for the past seven years. The sale is due to go through in the next month.

The volunteer-run community hub, formed in 2000, currently provides a café, gallery and events space for the city, as well housing a publishing house, a record label, artists’ studios and workshops and even a hair and massage salon. Its premises have been in jeopardy since the bankruptcy of Edinburgh University Settlement, their former landlords, last year, which also led to the demise of multi-arts space The Roxy Art House.

The Forest aren’t going to go down without a fight though; they’re currently stepping up their campaign for survival. “The buyers haven't been in touch with us themselves, so we don't know who they are or what their intentions for the Forest are – but if they're expecting us to pack up and leave quietly, they're mistaken,” said Sean Hammond, a long-time Forest volunteer. “Potential buyers should remember that last time we had a big scare, when Eidyn Architects wanted to turn the building into private flats, objection letters from around the world forced them to withdraw.”

“There's been a huge outpouring of public support for the campaign, including widespread media coverage, letters from MPs, and regular fundraising events run for us by local arts organisations,” Sean Hammond continued. “We've raised a massive £14,000 in just three months, and we know that there's a strong will in the local community for us to continue doing our work in this beautiful building.”

Supporters can sign an e-petition in support of the campaign at here, and are able to donate to the charity through their website at