Student flats plan under fire with call to ban cars

There are plans to turn this Orwell Terrace site into student residences
There are plans to turn this Orwell Terrace site into student residences
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STUDENTS moving into a planned new residence could be banned from owning cars after the development came under fire from community councillors.

Members of the Gorgie and Dalry Community Council said the ban should be included in tenancy agreements as they lodged an objection over a 234-apartment house block in Orwell Terrace to be leased by Edinburgh Napier University.

But university chiefs insisted students moving into the residence would be discouraged from using cars.

In her objection, Fiona McLean, the community council’s planning leader, said: “There are already too many cars in the area and any increase in the number [of residents] will adversely affect public transport. A ban on car ownership, while difficult to enforce, should be included in the lease for all residents, including summer lets.

“Residents in the development should also be refused resident parking permits as this will make it more difficult for them to park and may make them reconsider car ownership, if it is not a term on the lease or they ignore the rule.”

Community councillors also criticised the height of the proposed building and said it would increase noise, strain local resources and facilities, and destroy the privacy of neighbouring residents.

Ms McLean added: “This development will mean that the overconcentration of students in Gorgie/Dalry will be made worse.

“Two large student housing developments have already been given permission in the area, one only a few hundred yards from the site of this proposed development, is being considered by the Scottish Government reporter. There is also considerable student housing nearby.”

But bosses at Cityheart and Edinburgh Napier University played down fears over the development’s impact.

Patrick Hughes, director of property and facilities at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are committed to producing a robust travel plan which will encourage the use of public transport and discourage students from using cars.

“The location was chosen, in part, because of its excellent transport routes with the site being within walking distance or a direct bus journey to our campuses. We will have an on-site security presence, networked access control and extensive CCTV cover.”

Mark McNamee, of developer Cityheart, said: “We are committed to working with the community and to attempt to alleviate their concerns. Many of the issues raised can be dealt with, such as security. Whilst we cannot commit to a full-time presence on site, in our experience of these buildings, there is always a security system in place.”

He added: “We are happy to meet with the council and its representatives again to demonstrate how we can and will alleviate many of their concerns.”

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “We can confirm that the Gorgie Dalry community council have given feedback on the proposed development at Orwell Terrace. These comments will be carefully considered and used to inform our decision.”