Campaigners celebrate as Edinburgh councillors reject flats plan at Murrayfield former nursing home

TOR Christian Nursing Home, Edinburgh. Pic; Lisa Ferguson
TOR Christian Nursing Home, Edinburgh. Pic; Lisa Ferguson
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Community campaigners are celebrating after councillors halted proposals to build two blocks of flats next to a listed former nursing home.

AMA Housing applied to the City of Edinburgh Council to put up the flats on either side of the former Tor House nursing home in Murrayfield. The plans included two residential homes in the B-listed building itself, two in a renovated stable block and another home in a lodge house.

But councillors on the development management sub-committee unanimously rejected the proposals due to the impact on the listed building, conservation areas, loss of trees, affordable housing policies and the impact on the character of the area.

Speaking after the meeting, community councillor Jim Forbes, said: “We and the residents coordinated and had a message that clearly was heard.

“It’s a victory for the city as a whole. Conservation areas are a resource for the entire city and they should be protected.”

AMA applied for permission to build nine two-bedroom and five three-bedroom flats in a block to the north of the house along with five two-bedroom flats and eight three-bedroom apartments in another block to the south. Planning officers recommended the proposals should be approved, but councillors voted against the scheme being given the green light.

Murrayfield ward Cllr Gillian Gloyer spoke out about the loss of 24 trees that would be chopped down to make way for the development – claiming the conservation area was being “whittled away, one development at a time”.

She added: “I cannot imagine their contribution can be replaced in the near future with newly planted trees. Surely it would be nicer for the residents to have trees on their ground rather than a 32-space car park.”

The developers said its proposals would remove “semi-mature trees in the wrong location”.

A spokesman added: “Tor House will be returned once again to a residential block – that’s a very positive move.

“These trees are not actually where they should be. We are proposing to take some trees away. This is not a good well-managed tree belt. We are not taking them away for fun, some of them are not good or in the right place. The number of trees remains the same.”

Campaigners submitted daylight assessments for properties that conflicted with the developers’ estimations. Councillors also quizzed AMA about being unable to provide a 25 per cent allocation of affordable housing on the site – while Cllr George Gordon said there had been a “complete failure” to engage with affordable housing providers.