Student housing plan for Palais de Danse

An artist's impression of the development. Picture: comp
An artist's impression of the development. Picture: comp
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HAPPY memories for hundreds of couples who danced at one of the city’s most famous venues are set to be reduced to rubble under plans for student housing.

The former Palais de Danse in Fountainbridge will be levelled if planners back proposals lodged by developers.

Residents have hit out at plans for the 250-flat development, claiming that Fountainbridge already has enough student flats, with even more already under construction.

Plans show how developer Vita Student aims to turn the derelict site, which was most recently home to Mecca Bingo, into a modern accommodation block of studio apartments with common living areas looking out on to the Union Canal.

But Tollcross Community Council chairman Paul Beswick said the plans were “over the top”, with hundreds of flats already built or under development nearby.

He said: “Once we see the full application, we will be putting in an objection on the basis of the number of student residences in the area.

“We’ve nothing against students but it’s just getting a bit over the top. There are two blocks right next to it which were to have been flats but have been converted into student residences, and there is another block being developed across Fountainbridge, which again was supposed to be flats.”

Local councillor Gavin Corbett said the building, which has been boarded up since 2006, was an “eyesore” but said the facade should be saved.

He said: “The old bingo hall is the gateway to a Fountainbridge, which is slowly being transformed, so something is needed to improve on what is currently an eyesore. However, I’m disappointed that the art deco facade has not been kept, as part of something that is uniquely Fountainbridge.”

Historian and heritage campaigner David McLean, who founded the Lost Edinburgh website, said that while residents would miss the 1911 building, refurbishing it was unlikely to be viable.

He said: “It’s fondly regarded as the place where a lot of couples would meet. A lot of marriages came out of the Palais de Danse. I would like to see it refurbished as a music venue, because the city is sorely lacking in that area.”

A Vita Student spokesman said: “Edinburgh is a top destination for international students, a market which demands high quality accommodation and high standards of service.”