‘Campus community’ plan as Telford is transformed

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WORK is under way to transform the former home of Telford College into more than 200 flats, while a former city hospital is set to be turned into hundreds of student apartments.

Miller Homes’ Varcity North development of 209 apartments, which includes the conversion of the former college building, is aimed at revitalising the area and creating a “campus-style community” in north Edinburgh.

Telford College occupied the Crewe Road North campus for almost 40 years with the project to transform it set to take around four years to complete.

The new development will include a range of one and two-bedroom apartments with Miller Homes, which was granted planning permission for the site in June 2007, saying early indications had shown there was demand.

A number of apartments have been sold off-plan and the first residents, occupying the Randolph campus, are expected to move in next month.

Anne Marie Britton, sales director for Miller Homes in Scotland East, said: “Varcity North plays a key role in the regeneration and revitalisation of the former Telford College site, creating an exciting new development for first-time buyers and investors.”

She added: “The location and price of our one and two-bedroom apartments is creating interest and shows there is unmet demand for affordable living in Edinburgh.”

Miller Homes bought the land after the college moved to a new £32 million campus at the redeveloped Granton Gasworks site in 2006.

Meanwhile, plans have been unveiled to renovate Deaconess House on the Pleasance into a student housing development.

The whole site will cater for an estimated 330 students and an internal courtyard will also be designed and landscaped.

The former NHS Lothian building – which was sold for around £4m in the summer – dates back to 1894 when it was opened to train local nurses.

It was the health board’s headquarters before it moved to Waverley Gate last year.

It became surplus to requirements because of its ageing structure and poor insulation, and caused the health board’s utility bills to rise sharply.

Deaconess House is close to Edinburgh University and next to the Pleasance union and sports centre.

Details of the development have been submitted to councillors ahead of a formal application later this year.

Councillor Cameron Rose, who is on the planning committee, said: “I can’t say too much as I’m on the committee, but I’m keen to see some development happen before too long.

“I want to see the area remain active and wouldn’t want to see the structure lie empty.”