Edinburgh student housing: Plans submitted for 289 student rooms as part of the New Waverley masterplan

The site once used as a bus depot is the last remaining undeveloped site within the wider New Waverley masterplan development
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Plans to build new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in Edinburgh’s city centre have been lodged as part of the New Waverley masterplan development.

The proposal for the site between Calton Road and Shoemakers Square comprises of 289 bedrooms, including 65 bedrooms within four and five-bed clusters and 224 studio bedrooms. Plans also include three affordable housing units delivered as three 3-bed townhouses and a ground floor space for a commercial or community unit with an area of 277sqm.

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Applicant Vita Group, whose mission is to ‘revolutionise student accommodation in the UK’ and ‘create environments in which people can flourish’, has developed several student housing sites across the UK including PBSA at Fountainbridge with a second Edinburgh location in Leith set to open next month.

The planning application proposes 289 student bedrooms, three affordable housing units delivered as three 3-bed townhouses and a ground floor space for a commercial or community unit. Photo: Brindley AssociatesThe planning application proposes 289 student bedrooms, three affordable housing units delivered as three 3-bed townhouses and a ground floor space for a commercial or community unit. Photo: Brindley Associates
The planning application proposes 289 student bedrooms, three affordable housing units delivered as three 3-bed townhouses and a ground floor space for a commercial or community unit. Photo: Brindley Associates

Original plans to build 87 residential units (including three storey townhouses), one commercial unit and an underground car park for 25 cars on the brownfield site have since been replaced with a higher concentration of student accommodation with a separate block of affordable housing.

The car park has also been withdrawn from the plans to allow a greater cycle storage capacity (229 bikes) and accommodate a private and secure external courtyard for use by the students. The planning statement submitted as part of the application said: “Given the accessibility of the site by active travel modes and public transport, and the characteristics of the predominant proposed use (student accommodation) the ‘car free’ nature of the proposals is considered to be appropriate.”

Encompassing an area of 0.245ha, the site falls just short of the council’s Student Housing Guidance criteria that stipulates sites greater than 0.25ha must provide residential housing that represents ‘a minimum of 50 per cent of the total new build housing.’ The application is part of the New Waverley £240m regeneration that has already delivered 102 residential units (36 affordable and 66 private).

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