Gorgie slated for student complex

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PLANS have been submitted for a major new student housing complex west of the city centre.

The proposed development on Gorgie Road would see 330 flats on a site opposite the British Telecom offices.

The site was at one stage earmarked to become home to the city’s first high-rise student blocks, at 14-storeys high and housing 700 people. The plans met opposition due to the height of the buildings and collapsed when developer Kenmore Gorgie suffered as a result of the economic crisis.

The new scheme has been significantly scaled back and features five-storey blocks which, the architects say, would fit with the surroundings.

Discussions are ongoing to determine which of Edinburgh’s universities it would link to.

Hector Black, director of Covell Matthews Architects, said Gorgie was an attractive site for student housing as it had areas that could benefit from redevelopment and was on a major bus route.

He said: “We’ve had extensive consultations with the local community groups as part of the planning process and hopefully the project is now a good compromise.

“We believe this is very realistic development and, hopefully, it will gain support.”

Mr Black added that the city council was keen to revamp areas of Gorgie and so his firm submitted additional plans for later extensions.

The site would measure around 1.5 acres and the proposed buildings would include sustainable features such as solar panels.

Residents’ groups have expressed concern that, in total, four developments in the Gorgie-Dalry area would bring the total number of student rooms to around 1000.

The developers have said the buildings would have 24-hour management.

However, Gorgie-Dalry Community Council said residents had spoken of antisocial behaviour, loud parties and large groups of youths at night from existing flats.

Maria Kelly, chair of the community council, said: “There are a number of concerns about this development, but moreover the fact that altogether there would be around 1000 new student flats within a relatively small area.

“We would like to see an assurance that these buildings will have management. We’re not against development, and we can see the economic values of students moving to the area, but it cannot come at the cost of eroding the quality of life of local residents.”