Housing set for derelict Hunters Tryst school site

Hunters Tryst Primary School being demolished. Picture: Julie Bull

Hunters Tryst Primary School being demolished. Picture: Julie Bull

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The site of a blaze-damaged school that has lain derelict for eight years is set to be transformed into housing.

Hunters Tryst Primary School in Oxgangs Green closed in 2007 and was later demolished after being badly damaged in a fire.

If it’s going down that road [of affordable housing] then that’s absolutely brilliant

Peggy Wright

The brownfield site has been left empty and unused ever since, with previous attempts to sell the land thwarted by the recession.

But earlier this year the council launched a fresh attempt to shift the space, marketing the 1.4-acre plot as “well placed for easy access to both the city centre and Edinburgh bypass”.

And now a preferred bidder has been chosen to bring a new lease of life to the area.

Edinburgh-based Hopefield Partnership has plans to develop 79 affordable homes on the land in conjunction with a housing association, with the company putting in the highest bid for the site before the closing date.

A spokesman for the developer said it was too early to comment as the £2 million sale was yet to be formally confirmed by council chiefs.

But Peggy Wright, secretary of Firrhill Community Council, said the plans were “good news” for the area. She said: “We were hoping it would be affordable housing or a mixture of affordable and social housing. If it’s going down that road then that’s absolutely brilliant because we certainly need more homes in the area.”

Following the closure of the school eight years ago, pupils were moved to Pentland Primary, with developer Dundas Estates lining up the site for new homes.

But the economic downturn later put paid to the scheme and separate proposals by Dunedin Canmore Housing Association to build 104 affordable homes also fell by the wayside – as well as a later bid to build a care home.

Oxgangs councillor Jason Rust said he was “pleased a preferred bidder has eventually been found and that negotiations are progressing”, but stressed the views of residents would need to be taken into account in the event of any planning application.

He said: “The access through the site and the future of the wellheads will be important considerations and generally the amenity of the Oxgangs area given the central location of the site.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Following the closing date for the sale of the former Hunters Tryst Primary School site in Oxgangs Green, preferred bidder status has been awarded to Hopefield Partnership.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com