Councillors refuse bid to turn Gorgie's Murrayfield Sports bar into student flats

The application was refused over flood risk concerns.
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A bid to turn a popular Gorgie sports bar into student flats has been rejected by councillors.

An application was submitted to demolish the Murrayfield Sports Bar for purpose-built student accommodation with ancillary and social amenity accommodation including 87 rooms.

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The pub on Westfield Road is a popular spot for locals to watch sports and play pool. Developers claimed the redevelopment of the bar would address a shortage of student housing in the Capital and 'major anti-social behaviour' in that location. City planners recommended that the planning application be granted.

But the bit was refused at the development management sub-committee on Wednesday, following concerns over flooding raised by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

In a report to committee it reads "SEPA objects in principle to the application on the grounds of flood risk from the Water of Leith which they expect to put people or property at risk of flooding."

The local community council objected to the plans amid claims of the area having a high concentration of student accommodation.

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It comes after plans to build 468 student beds on the site of the former Tynecastle High School were granted on appeal to the Scottish Government, sparking a backlash in the community. Plans for 289 more student beds were also green-lighted last year for 36-44 Westfield Road.

Local councillor Ross McKenzie welcomed the decision. He told the Evening News:

"I'm delighted that this application has been refused by committee. Gorgie residents have been loud and clear that they are fed up with Purpose Built Student Accommodation being rammed through the planning system while their views are ignored. Westfield Road alone has seen almost 700 student beds approved in the past few years while nothing comes forward for mainstream housing. I hope the developers will reflect on what they heard during the consultation process - they should shelve these plans rather than appealing the decision"

Mr McKenzie previously called for the plans to be halted over fears about the Directors of EH1 students (Gorgie) Ltd, who were involved in a collapsed aviation school which left students thousands of pounds out of pocket.

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