Housing plan near Colonies back on table

Flower Colonies residents oppose the new plans
Flower Colonies residents oppose the new plans
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PLANS for a dense housing development in a historic part of the city have been relaunched – only a year after they were killed off by the Scottish Government.

Residents in Slateford are furious that the proposals for a huge block of student flats and other properties is set to come before councillors again.

They successfully defied planning officials who wanted to give the development near the Flower Colonies the green light in 2010 by persuading councillors it was an inappropriate project for the three-quarters of a hectare area of land. Their campaign was backed by Holyrood’s planning reporter, who in January 2011 dismissed an appeal for planning permission.

But now developer AMA (New Town) has amended its plans and put them back before the local authority. It said that unlike the previous design, this project – which would involve the demolition of disused buildings behind the colonies – was informed by specialist public realm designers and transport experts.

A block containing accommodation for 220 students would be placed alongside 34 residential properties made up of 13 townhouses and 21 flats.

AMA also stated this was a smaller development, making less of an impact on those living nearby.

The Flower Colonies Area Residents’ Association – which was formed to fight the initial plans three years ago – said it was preparing for another battle. Treasurer Jenny Goldsmith said: “The plans have been amended, but none of the fundamental issues have been addressed. If anything, this actually affects more people.

“We are not against developing the site, we need to stress that, but this is completely inappropriate for the area.”

Residents are also anxious about how heavy construction vehicles would access a site to which only narrow, cobbled roads lead.

Ms Goldsmith added: “There are issues with traffic as well if it does go ahead. We saw what happened with fire engines trying to attend a fire in the other Colonies nearby, these roads were not built with the motor vehicle in mind.”

The Lib Dems also appear to be concerned about the plan. They circulated a letter in the area which described residents as being “dismayed by new plans proposed” and described the previous plan as one that “would have damaged the character of the area”.

No one from AMA was available for comment.