Horrified residents oppose size of planned care home

Residents are against the plans. Picture: Scott Taylor

Residents are against the plans. Picture: Scott Taylor

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MORE than 100 residents are opposing plans to breathe new life into former church halls by revamping them into a four-storey home for the elderly.

The ambitious vision for Belgrave Halls in Corstorphine, which was formerly owned by the Church of Scotland, includes a 42-bedroom residential home, boasting a cafe, cinema, library and salon.

Two buildings would be demolished and rebuilt as part of the plan.

But residents are up in arms, saying their view of the Pentland Hills from Gordon Road and Belgrave Gardens will be “obstructed”. They also say parking will be a problem if there is an increase in visitors.

One critic, Iain Wright, 61, who lives close to the planned 1348sq metre home, said his opposition is an “understatement”.

Mr Wright said he is in “sheer horror” at the proposed size and style of the proposed care home.

“It doesn’t remotely fit in with the setting of its surroundings,” he said. “The scale of the building is just massive. The back of it will be jammed right up against the boundary.

“It’s four storeys tall – completely out of scale with the rest of the area.

“And the architecture is just horrible. It looks like something a child would draw.”

The halls on Belgrave Road once belonged to St Anne’s Parish Church and were originally used for community events. They have been vacant for some time and developer Cockburn Consultants, acting on behalf of Care Concern Ltd, is aiming to gain planning permission.

Colin Keir, MSP for Edinburgh Western, a former member of the Capital’s planning committee, is one of more than 100 objectors.

Mr Keir said there was a shortage of parking in the area and that such a huge 
development could make that worse. He said many commuters already park their cars in Corstorphine to get public transport into the city each day.

On the planning application it is proposed a total of seven car parking spaces should be available for the home.

Mr Keir said the planned build “will dwarf everything around it” and “penalise” residents.

Brent Quinn, owner of Cockburn Consultants, said: “There is a demand for care facilities in this area and it gives people of retirement age more flexibility.”

The developer is staging a public exhibition on Thursday from 6pm at the church halls for people to view the plans.

“We will be blowing up the drawings that are on the planning application portal,” Mr Quinn said.

“I think the crux of the objections are about the bulk of the building. We have a building of a similar scale less than 100 metres south west of the site.

“We would suggest that the building would be in keeping and sympathetic to the character of the area.”

Mr Quinn said the council’s transport section is not objecting to the plan.

newsen@edinburghnews.com