Local residents protest S1 plans for student housing at old Edinburgh's Tynecastle High

Local residents and tenancy union Living Rent have combined forces to oppose the proposal for 500-unit purpose built student accommodation on the site of the former Tynecastle high school.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:55 am

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Members of Living Rent and the local community have said they want more social housing and affordable properties in the area instead of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA).

A socially distanced protest took place on May 30 and another protest was expected for June 10 until it was cancelled at late notice.

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Members of Living Rent and local residents protested the planned conversion of the old Tynecastle School into purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). Alongside local councillors and representatives from NUS and UCU, locals made their voices heard.

Living Rent members from Gorgie-Dalry have provided those in opposition with resources to help protest the proposed development.

A Living Rent spokesperson said: “The former Tynecastle School is a historic B-listed building, left derelict since 2010. Rather than cramming 500 student flats into this space, local residents want to see affordable housing which accommodates a mix of household types and includes green space & community space.

Students deserve the same housing standards as everyone else. Gorgie is a densely populated area which desperately needs more social housing and (truly) affordable housing. The needs of students and locals are not exclusive: genuinely affordable housing is student housing.”

A protest organised by residents and Living Rent against the proposed PBSA
A protest organised by residents and Living Rent against the proposed PBSA

They went on to say that the Sighthill-Gorgie ward already contains the fourth highest number of student beds in the capital.

Ana Garcia, Living Rent member, who lives next to the proposed development, said: “I live just a few metres away from the old Tynecastle High School, and was very disappointed to find out that the proposal was for yet another massive student housing complex, without any plans to increase communal green spaces.

“In recent years we’ve seen a great number of PBSAs proliferating in the area, while more and more young people and families are being priced out of Gorgie. My neighbours and I worry that the proposal will drastically change the character of the street and the wider community. We would much prefer to see more affordable housing built in Gorgie.”

A spokesperson for S1 developments said: “S1 are primarily residential developers, with many large-scale residential schemes currently underway in Edinburgh. We develop sites to suit the location and, following a full assessment of the constraints of this location, we feel that car free student development is the most appropriate use for Old Tynecastle High School.

Protest organised by residents and Living Rent.

"This will secure the redevelopment of the school, which has lain vacant for over a decade, and develop the site in a manner which is compatible with the neighbouring uses.

“Proximity to North British Distillery, who previously owned the site, Tynecastle Stadium and the Western Approach, with issues around light, smell, noise and traffic, make development of the site difficult. We believe that student accommodation, where high quality communal and social space can be located in the middle of the development, provides a more appropriate use of the site than private residential accommodation.

“Whilst the redevelopment is challenging, the proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, serving students in higher education.

“We are exploring with local groups and organisations a potential new community space within the building.”

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