LUXURY homes are set to be built in the grounds of a historic former children’s home if councillors give the plans the go-ahead next week.
Developer Miller Homes Ltd wants to tear down buildings near the B-listed Redhall House and stables near the Water of Leith in Slateford, near Craiglockhart, and put up 16 new homes.
City council head of planning John Bury, however, said the site was of historic importance and an archaeological dig must take place before building work starts.
Mr Bury said the proposed new homes were within the southern limits of the grounds surrounding Redhall House and within the grounds of the medieval castle of Redhall destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s forces in the 17th century.
Redhall House, designed by James Robertson and dated 1758, and a nearby dovecot dated 1756 are just outside the development and a Roman road could also run underneath the grounds.
Mr Bury said: “Based on the historical and archaeological evidence the site has been identified as being located within an area of archaeological potential.
“The western part of the site, closest to the stables, does appear to have escaped the worst of any earlier landscaping and may therefore contain significant remains, principally relating to the development and use of Redhall House Estate.
“It is essential therefore that a programme of archaeological mitigation is carried on the site prior to development in order to fully record, excavate and analyse any significant surviving buried archaeological remains that may be disturbed by development.”
Mr Bury has, however, recommended councillors approve the plans.
The development would see eight detached villas built, each with five bedrooms and a double garage and four with offices. Eight more flats would be built in and around the stable block, with garages and parking spaces.
Mr Bury said: “The site is designated as urban area in the Edinburgh City Local Plan.
“The proposed residential use would be in keeping and compatible with the surrounding area, the majority of which is residential.
“The site currently comprises disused school buildings and sheltered housing and the development brief, prepared in 2004, states that development of the site for housing would be an acceptable alternative use of the site in principle.”
The villas would be built to the south of Redhall House, as part of the final phase in redeveloping the former school buildings.
Redhall House, its grounds and the educational and social work facilities that lie there, have been sold off in three parts to private owners for redevelopment.
The northernmost part, the site of Graysmill School, and the south-east part, the site of Cairn Park School, have already been turned into new homes.