Residents angry at plan to turn Canonmills site into apartments

Ian Springford Architects are behind plans to redevelop a former mill to create 11 apartments and ground floor commercial space on Edinburgh's Canon Street on behalf of Thistle Property Group
Ian Springford Architects are behind plans to redevelop a former mill to create 11 apartments and ground floor commercial space on Edinburgh's Canon Street on behalf of Thistle Property Group
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Residents have hit out at “unsympathetic” plans to turn the city’s last surviving mill building into apartments.

Developers Thistle Property Group has lodged proposals to turn the Canonmills office building at the corner of Eyre Place and Canon Street into 11 flats with a ground floor commercial space.

But the community is concerned that the history and heritage of the area – named for the Canons of Holyrood Abbey who set up their mills there – will be lost if the plans are granted planning permission.

Local resident Mark Turner said: “We do not want to stand in the way of progress and are not against re-development but the design for this site is not very sympathetic to the history of the area at all.

“Removing the pitched roof takes away the character of the building and some of the materials are alien to the rest of the area. The whole place is steeped in history and we are ripping the heart out of it by putting something like this up.”

Changes to the building, which has been altered and extended during its life, will include a modern, box-like extension with a glazed glass balcony above the retained facade.

A spokesman for the Cockburn Association said: “Our comments on the proposal for Canon Street are pending as we give consideration to the implication of an archaeology assessment.

“The developer’s own archaeological report indicates that there’s the potential of some remaining built heritage on the site and we are considering the proposal in the context of that potential.

“We acknowledge that the site has been much altered on several occasions.”

Plans include an increase in height from three to four storeys and the report states that the new roofline and fourth floor would create a sharp juxtaposition with the listed buildings along the western side of Canon Street, which could have an “adverse affect” on the views of and towards the New Town Conservation Area.

David Maxwell of Thistle Property Group said: “As part of the re-development of Canon Street we will maintain the original stonework façade of the building fronting into Eyre Place.

“Although the site is not listed, the original rubble masonry walls are intact and in good condition and will be retained. Dressed sandstone will be used on the new buildings to echo the original façade, as well as the fabric of the listed buildings in the area. The roof and shop frontage is not original and will be replaced.

“We look forward to the opportunity to breathe new life into a building with such a legacy.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk