a 150-YEAR-OLD farmhouse has been saved from “ugly” new housing following a Scottish Government’s decision to reject the developer’s appeal.
Plans to knock down Comiston Farmhouse – a historic relic of the old Comiston Estate, now owned by the council – and build 37 flats was rejected by city councillors.
But developers Chamberlain and Bell appealed the decision in the hope the Scottish Government planning reporter would overturn the local authority. However, the Government’s Principal Reporter Dan Jackman dismissed the proposal as being contrary to the city’s development plan.
His report stated: “I find no objection to the principle of an appropriate re-development of the site to meet the housing needs of Edinburgh.
“There are a number of policy requirements that have been met.
“However, I have found that the proposal would be an unduly dominant and prominent building within the local context, have an unacceptable impact upon the amenities of the rear garden area of 76 and 78 Swan Spring Avenue and result in the removal of an important tree.”
Colinton and Fairmilehead Cllr Jason Rust said: “This is excellent news and a great win for local residents who have worked so hard over a long time in opposing this unsuitable application.
“The density of the proposed development was completely unsuited to this site and was clearly against policy. I hope that the Council now fully engages with local residents on the future of this site.”
Campaigners against the development had previously branded the new flats as “an ugly mess”.
Neighbour Liz Smith said local objectors were relieved. She said: “The campaign to reject a totally unsuitable high-rise, high-density planning proposal and thus to save the 150-year-old farmhouse has received huge support from neighbours, friends and local councillors.
“Neighbours and residents are very happy indeed that the appeal has been dismissed, and the house has been saved, but there is more to do.
“The next stage is to find a suitable new use or new owner for the farmhouse and site, which are owned by Edinburgh Council.
“It is still very early days, but campaigners and neighbours are hopeful that by working with the appropriate council departments a mutually acceptable solution can be found to give new life to this lovely historic farmhouse.
“It is thanks to everyone who showed their support that the house has now been saved from demolition.
“Local residents see the farmhouse as a significant part of our local heritage, and appreciate both the house and its lovely setting.”