Proposal to transform former Edinburgh high school into student flats

Students could be set for a return to the old Tynecastle High School, if plans to transform it into accommodation are given the go-ahead.

By David McLean
Friday, 26th March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 9:09 am
The old Tynecastle High School has been boarded up for years since its closure.
The old Tynecastle High School has been boarded up for years since its closure.

A proposal of application (PAN) notice has been put forth by applicant Tynecastle Teague Limited that would see the former secondary school building converted for residential use as student accommodation.

The plans would mean the partial demolition of parts of the building, which is situated at 17 McLeod Street in Gorgie, and the construction of a new build with associated infrastructure, landscaping, access and parking.

Approved by the City of Edinburgh Council, an online public consultation will follow in April, with a decision on the redevelopment plans likely to be made by the summer.

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Responding to the proposed plans, Councillor Catherine Fullerton (SNP) said she was pleased that a new use for the building had been mooted after more than a decade of it lying vacant.

However, Cllr Fullerton expressed concerns about the lack of affordable housing in the Gorgie area, and pointed to the proximity a new student accommodation project already under construction at nearby Westfield.

She said: “I am pleased that the old Tynecastle High School is causing interest at last as it’s lain moribund for too long.

In January 2010 Tynecastle pupils moved to a new school building across the road from the original site.

"I have not studied the detail or had a briefing yet on the proposed student flats. My only view at this time is an economic one in that a development here would be a boost to local shops and businesses.

“Given that there is a student development in progress at Westfield, I am unsure if another so close would be acceptable. I am also aware of local opposition to more student accommodation and the view that affordable homes are what is required which must be given some weight.”

Mathew Reilly, planning officer at Gorgie and Dalry Community Council, also voiced concerns at the growing number of student residentials in the Gorgie area.

He said: "We discussed the PAN at our March meeting with some local residents and our local Councillors. From these discussions and comments in response to our circulation of the PAN, it is clear that residents feel that there is an over-provision of student residentials in Gorgie/Dalry and surrounding areas, and would prefer that any development of the site prioritise affordable housing.

"While at this stage we have no detailed plans to discuss from the PAN, we will be inviting the developers to one of our upcoming meetings for them to provide more information for us and for residents to raise any questions or comments directly to the developers.

"It is crucial that this planning process genuinely listens to residents' concerns about large student residential developments in our community."

Currently B-listed, the old Tynecastle High was in continuous use for 98 years until January 2010 when it was replaced by a new secondary situated directly across the road.

In 2013, it emerged that the empty former Tynecastle High School had cost taxpayers almost £250,000 in maintenance and security costs alone.

The site had previously been central to the redevelopment plans of Tynecastle Stadium in the 2000s, but this project was eventually scrapped by then Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov.

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