New homes decision for burnt Oxgangs school site

The site of the old Hunter's Tryst Primary School on Oxgangs Green was due to be converted into homes
The site of the old Hunter's Tryst Primary School on Oxgangs Green was due to be converted into homes
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The scorched site of former Hunter’s Tryst Primary could finally be turned into housing as plans for 85 new affordable homes are recommended for approval.

City council planners said the redevelopment of the neglected and under-utilised site will provide “much needed” housing, all of which is proposed to be affordable.

If approved on Wednesday, the developer, Edinburgh-based Hopefield Partnership, will build 79 flats and six houses on the site in Oxgangs Green.

The primary school closed in 2007 and was later demolished after being badly damaged in a fire.

Pupils from Hunters Tryst moved to Comiston, now Pentland Primary and the brownfield site has been left empty and unused ever since, with previous attempts to sell the land thwarted by the recession.

Firrhill Community Council chairman Heather Levy said the community would be delighted to see the plans approved.

“This has been something that has been very dear to my heart and I have lobbied for this since the site became available. Sometimes there is a stigma that goes with affordable housing, but we are delighted that it has been earmarked for social housing and been recommended for approval.

“It is disappointing however that there are not more family houses. People in the area wanting to have children or grow their families are forced to move away because there are no larger affordable homes – we’re losing a whole section of the community.”

The development includes six three-bedroom semi-detached houses and 77 one and two-bedroom flats.

There are also 21 apartments for elderly people and developers say it has been carefully designed to be spacious, and is centred round a village green theme.

The new homes will be connected to the wider community with footpaths planned throughout the site.

Hopefield Partnerships said that site landscaping has also been very much in their plans and they are really pleased “to be able to offer our high quality and energy efficient homes to help the very much needed affordable housing in Edinburgh”.

Oxgangs Councillor Jason Rust said there was still some serious concerns about parking volumes and road safety but overall the development was welcome after so many years.

He added: “Effectively it removes a long-term empty brownfield site and provides some much needed new affordable housing.

“I am aware that there are some concerns about the density of the development, but generally it is an improvement on previous applications and I hope the local shops and amenities will be boosted too.”

Part of the development would mean building into an area currently designated as open space – which is contrary to Edinburgh council’s planning rules.

However, city planners said that improved access to open space across the rest of the development justifies the loss and the “minor departure” from the development plan.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk