Luxury flats bid to revive office haven

The townhouse in Castle Street which would be converted from commercial use into 11 flats under the proposals. Picture: JANE BARLOW

The townhouse in Castle Street which would be converted from commercial use into 11 flats under the proposals. Picture: JANE BARLOW

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LUXURY flats have been lined up for a street which was once home to Sir Walter Scott as offices are “restored to their former glory”.

With striking views of Edinburgh Castle to the south and the glimmer of the Firth of Forth to the north, Castle Street has always been a desirable address.

Legendary author Sir Walter Scott lived at 39 North Castle Street in the 19th century and in more recent years three-bedroom flats have sold for more than £500,000.

Plans have been submitted for 11 apartments – with up to four bedrooms each – in a townhouse in North Castle Street, which currently houses commercial estate agent Ryden.

New Town-based developer Sundial Properties, which converted a row of townhouses in the street into 15 flats in 2006, said the plans formed part of a wider trend for transforming the area from a haven of businesses to 
homes.

William Gray Muir, managing director of Sundial Properties, said: “We have been previously successful in moving buildings in North Castle Street from office use to residential use, which is as it used to be.

“They are prominent buildings with great original features but they have suffered from many years of office use and we are hoping to bring them back to their former glory.”

This growing trend has been seen across the New Town in recent years, said community council chairman Ian Mowat.

He said: “We have seen this happening in the last few years, particularly in the first New Town streets [south of Queen Street].

“The glory of Edinburgh is there are these amazing buildings which people can live in. There is no reason why Castle Street couldn’t be a mostly residential street.”

Housing bids have risen since 2008 as businesses suffered the consequences of the economic downturn, according to planner Robin Holder.

Mr Holder, of Holder Planning, said: “There is a trend with the housing market picking up in recent years so that affects the value for owners.

“Originally most of the properties in Castle Street were built for residential use, and while they have been used for other things, it makes sense to turn them back to their original use.”

Housing has a lower impact on its surroundings than pubs or restaurants, which makes the applications appealing, as the city centre is a Unesco World Heritage site, he added.

Ryden Estate Agents declined to comment.