Cross-party backing for 'masterplan' call to guide future of Edinburgh's key Meadowbank-Jock's Lodge area

Calls for a masterplan to guide future development on London Road between Meadowbank and Jock’s Lodge have won cross-party backing.
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The Evening News revealed on Thursday that plans for almost 400 student flats and more than 100 homes at multi-storey St Margaret’s House – currently the base for arts charity the Art Palette – have fallen through and the property will go back on the market.

Meanwhile an application to build student accommodation on the site of the now-closed Barrel House bar and grill has not yet been decided.

A plan to develop St Margaret's House as student accommodation has fallen throughA plan to develop St Margaret's House as student accommodation has fallen through
A plan to develop St Margaret's House as student accommodation has fallen through
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Student flats plan for office block in Edinburgh's Meadowbank falls through
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John McLellan Tory councillor for the area, used his column in the News to suggest the north side of London Road was now “ripe for a masterplan” including social and market housing and a permanent home for the Art Palette.

And his proposal has now secured support from fellow Cragentinny/Duddingston councillors.

Green Alex Staniforth said: "A masterplan for the area would make a lot of sense and is an idea I could support."

The Barrel House Bar & Grill at Jocks Lodge has now closedThe Barrel House Bar & Grill at Jocks Lodge has now closed
The Barrel House Bar & Grill at Jocks Lodge has now closed

And the SNP’s Ethan Young said: “We need development to happen with a holistic approach to the area rather than a piecemeal approach. The more we look at an area as a whole - i.e. a masterplan - then we connect things better, which means it's better connected for the people for the people who live here and hopefully provides the services that we need as a community."

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The plans for St Margaret’s House were given outline permission in 2016 but developers Drum Property Group’s deal to buy the site from owners Caledonian Trust depended on signing a pre-let deal with a student flat operator by the end of June and that failed to materialise.

Edinburgh Palette, which has more than 200 studios in the building, is now expected to stay on for the foreseeable future and the property will be re-marketed.

The proposals to build student accommodation on the Barrel House site are currently going through the planning process but no decision has been reached. The proposed site also includes the former Tyre Trax on London Road, and the adjacent Qasheez Takeaway.

Cllr McLellan said: “London Road is now a new gateway – there’s new sports stadium but also a huge amount of new housing in the area. There are hundreds more people living in the area than there have been for years and hundreds more to come with the Meadowbank stadium site.

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"It's crying out for something more visionary than is there just now or than one-off single developments will throw up. With St Margaret's House back on the market now is the time to think about a masterplan.”

He said student housing was still likely to be proposed as part of the development of the area. But he said: “The view among local people is our area has had enough. We are at the top end of what people think should be the maximum amount.

“The bigger the look at the area then perhaps the more options will get thrown up. Student housing might be part of that, but not the whole of it.”

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