RESIDENTS campaigning against a former school being turned into a care home face an unexpected wait as councillors delay on making a decision.
The plans were expected to be given the green light yesterday, allowing developers to convert and extend the listed Bonaly Primary building in Colinton – which has been lying empty for years – into a 32-bedroom care home.
But councillors agreed to delay their decision until the next committee meeting, amid concerns over the number of bedrooms and proximity to neighbouring properties.
They will now meet with developers to review the proposal, which has faced fierce criticism from neighbours and conservation groups who say it will have a detrimental impact on their neighbourhood.
David Bewsey, a member of Colinton Amenity Association, said: “The extension represents gross overdevelopment and massing within a conservation area and within the site of a listed building.”
The debate centres on how the extension will fit in with the conservation area, with concerns about the design being “inappropriate” and leading to a loss of sunlight and privacy for neighbouring properties. Heritage watchdog The Cockburn Association believes the architecture of the proposed extension – by Thorburn Manor Ltd – is “inappropriate for an addition to a listed building in a conservation area”.
The association’s director, Marion Williams, said: “It makes no reference to the architecture of the original design, and its junctions with the existing building are clumsily handled.” Yet she added: “In principle, we support the change of use and find the adaptation of the former school rooms to new uses well considered.”
Concerns have also been raised over how close the extension will be to the nearby historic Rustic Cottages and St Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church, and the impact it may have.
Ian Wight, joint owner of one of the cottages, said: “The proposed development clearly has major impacts on the amenity and heritage significance of Rustic Cottages.
“The situation within a conservation area requires that a comfortable fit needs to be found in the context of both listed buildings.”
The council’s head of planning, John Bury, disputed the claims made by the objectors, saying: “The proposals comply with the development plan and non-statutory guidelines, have no adverse effect on the character or appearance of the conservation area or the setting of the listed building, and have no detrimental impact on residential amenity or road safety.”