Canonmills flats plan approved despite Water of Leith flood fears

A cottage will be knocked down to make way for a block of flats after developers secured the green light from councillors.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 8:29 pm
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 7:21 am
Development of 11 new residential flats including associated parking, infrastructure and landscaping (as amended) | 5 Warriston Road Edinburgh EH3 5LQ

Northumberland Street Properties will build 11 flats with car parking and cycle parking on the ground floor at Warriston Road in Canonmills. The council will now have to notify Scottish Minister that permission has been granted after SEPA failed to withdraw an official objection in writing over flooding – with the development located close to the Water of Leith.

The four-storey flats will be made up of eight two-bedroom and three three-bedroom homes and will face onto the Water of Leith and properties in Boat Green.

In a report to councillors, officers said: “SEPA objects to the principle of development but the council’s flooding team is satisfied that the proposed mitigation measures are acceptable.”

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Cllr Chas Booth, quizzed officers as to why SEPA had still formally objected to the plans with the body stating “it may place buildings and persons at flood risk contrary to Scottish planning policy”.

Speaking at the meeting of the council’s development management sub-committee, a council planning officer, said: “The site is located adjacent to the Water of Leith and benefits from the Water of Leith flood prevention scheme.

“SEPA require the development to be protected to a 100 to 200-year standard, including an appropriate allowance for climate change. The finished floor levels have been increased in height well above the 100 to 200-year level and allow an allowance for climate change.

“SEPA were consulted on the original applications before these ones have been amended. The amended applications have been amended in conjunction with SEPA and our flooding team. We have not gone back and asked for formal consultation with SEPA. It now meets SEPA’s requirements.”

A cottage, currently used as a photographic studio, will make way for the new development, as well as a two-storey office block – built in the 1980s.

A communal garden will be made available to the rear of the flats. Nine parking spaces and 24 cycle spaces will be provided in a “secure location” – while each apartment will have an external balcony.

Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, backed the proposals and said he was willing to trust officers with any concerns over flooding.

He said: “We also have to notify Scottish Ministers if we are going to approve the application on the basis that the SEPA objection hasn’t been withdrawn.

“Perhaps it would have been better to have cleared that but there is the reassurance that the Ministers, may choose to go to SEPA again, should we approve this. Although not as robust as it might have been, I feel comfortable enough to trust our flood officers on this one.

“Although there’s a limited green space, I like the idea that it’s a single unit and therefore much more usable. It’s sad to see the loss of the original cottage, but it’s not listed and we need new housing in the city.”