Student flats plan for office block in Edinburgh's Meadowbank falls through

An £11 million plan to transform St Margaret’s House in Meadowbank into student flats has been halted after a pre-let deal failed to come to fruition.
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Drum Property Group secured outline planning permission in 2016 to build almost 400 student flats and more than 100 homes at multi-storey office block.

The development company agreed to buy the site from current owners, Caledonian Trust, on the condition that a pre-let deal with a student flat operator was signed by the end of June.

St Margaret’s House in Meadowbank is currently occupied by Edinburgh Palette arts charity .St Margaret’s House in Meadowbank is currently occupied by Edinburgh Palette arts charity .
St Margaret’s House in Meadowbank is currently occupied by Edinburgh Palette arts charity .
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However, the June deadline passed without the crucial document being signed.

The sale has been halted with plans to develop 377 student flats, including 304 en-suite room, 73 studio apartments and 53 parking spaces, on ice.

The site, which is valued at £11 million, will be remarketed.

In detailed planning documents submitted to Edinburgh City council in November 2019, Drum Property Group outlined their proposed redevelopment which would “significantly improve the pedestrian experience” along London Road – helped by the buildings being set back six metres from London Road

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The firm also said these specifics would “transform a site disjointed from the public realm by level changes and the positioning of existing buildings into a vibrant and lively location”.

As further plans to redevelop the area are still to receive permission, much of the north side of London Road is now available for redevelopment.

Edinburgh Palette arts charity, which has occupied St Margaret’s House since 2008, will continue using the building for the foreseeable future.

Writing in his Evening New column on Thursday, Conservative councillor John McLellan said London Road is “ripe for a new masterplan”.

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Cllr McLellan, who represents Craigentinny/Duddingston, added: “London Road has been crying out for attention for years now and a previous scheme, and a previous masterplan for this site, got nowhere. Virtually all there is to show for it is two benches and a short bike lane.

“Maybe with discussions between the Scottish Government, the council and a development partner a consortium could be formed to create something to complement the Meadowbank village set to emerge from the stadium site, involving social and market housing and a permanent home for the Palette’s eclectic family of enterprises.”

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