A HUGE student village could soon be built on the banks of the Water of Leith if new plans get the go-ahead.
The major scheme would see two patches of land off Lanark Road at Longstone transformed into a complex of flats and studio rooms straddling either side of the river – providing housing for around 250 students.
I think something of a more modest scale and diversity of use might find more favourGAVIN CORBETT
The proposals would also mean the demolition of the recently refurbished Blue Goose Country Pub alongside nearby garage and car dealer Westside Motors.
It is understood a private operator would be expected to take over the completed site, which will not be affiliated to any specific university but could target students at Heriot-Watt and Napier.
The plans, which are contained within a pre-application notice submitted to the council by Lanark Road Living Limited and Rick Finc Associates, include 24-hour reception areas and 200 cycle spaces – with no more than five car parking spaces provided at each development.
Developers said there was potential to build a new link to the Water of Leith walkway – but insisted there were no current moves to construct a bridge over the river connecting the two sites.
But councillors and community groups have argued the ambitious plans are simply too big for the local area. Stewart Campbell, planning spokesman at Longstone Community Council, said it was “not the right place” for the project.
He said: “The developer appears to want to develop on both sides of the river. We always knew that the Westside Motors site was going to be developed in the future, but what surprised us is that it involved the Blue Goose. Why demolish a perfectly good pub?
“I don’t think it’s a very appropriate place to build student housing. It’s a very congested area. I think we would be opposed to the scale of the plans. Our instinct is we think it’s not the right place.”
Green councillor Gavin Corbett, who represents Craiglockhart, said: “This is a pretty big development at the foot of Craiglockhart Dell, which is much-used for quiet walks and I’ve already had local residents express their misgivings.
“I’d welcome some alternative use for the area as the part used as a motor traders is pretty rundown, but I think something of a more modest scale and diversity of use might find more favour.
“There’s an opportunity to do something quite imaginative which enhances that part of the Water of Leith, especially with the Water of Leith centre right across the road.”
A public exhibition detailing plans for the site will be held at Water of Leith visitor centre on October 13 from 1pm to 6.30pm, with developers on hand to discuss the scheme.
A staff member at the Blue Goose confirmed employees were meeting next week to discuss the issue, but declined to give any further details.
A spokesman for Rick Finc Associates said the development was “responding to a high demand for purpose-built student accommodation in the city”.