Student flats plan at Corstorphine bakery

The bakery has been on St John's Road since the early 1900s. Picture: Scott Taylor

The bakery has been on St John's Road since the early 1900s. Picture: Scott Taylor

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A former baker’s shop in a city village could be transformed into student flats and a hotel.

A bakery has been based at the site on 62-64 St John’s Road, Corstorphine, since the early 1900s.

But the Donachie family, which formerly ran the bakery and also owns the adjoining cottage behind the premises, is now keen to replace its disused outbuildings with plush new student accommodation.

Bathgate-based Pink Architects has lodged a planning application on behalf of owner James Donachie for the complex, which would serve as an aparthotel outside of term time.

The developer has already been in talks with Edinburgh College about the project.

After the bakery closed several years ago, planning permission was granted in 2009 for the its demolition to make way for a restaurant. But with the economy looking uncertain, the owners decided to look for a more viable use.

The complex – made up of two two-storey blocks with 16 bedrooms, a studio apartment within the attic of the cottage, the subdivision of the existing cottage to form a one-bedroom house and a stand-alone commercial unit – would be built in three stages.

According to the architect’s design statement, the new buildings would be positioned to “minimise overshadowing”. The Donachies would manage and maintain the apartments.

Gordon Dean, who lives around the corner from the proposed development, said the plans sounded encouraging.

The 81-year-old said: “It’s probably a good thing. The Donachies had been baking there for a long time, but there’s been no sign of any take-up.

“If there’s no-one willing to take it on as a going concern as a baker, with all the competition that they have got, it’s probably a reasonable thing to do.

“The place is lying empty and it’s not doing the situation on the street any good.”

He added: “I think if it smartens up the area, rather than falling into a derelict site it’s a good thing.

“I think people will accept that Donachie’s wasn’t making the money that it should have made. Anything that improves the look of the high street is welcome, especially if the shop can’t compete with some of the other big competition.”

Corstorphine community councillor Ken Swinney said he was not aware of a great deal of opposition, however the application was still at an early stage.

He added: “The main concern is the people who are already sited there, who are going to look into this alteration to the area.

“It’s an odd corner, the shop is at the front of the road, and the house is behind it.

“We have had no direct opposition to it.

“We don’t see anything wrong with it, other than the fact people might have a different opinion.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com