Plans for student accommodation on Edinburgh’s London Road could see demolition of the former Jock’s Lodge pub.

Plans for yet more student accommodation on Edinburgh’s London Road could see demolition of the former Jock’s Lodge pub.
Barrel House Bar & Grill, Jocks Lodge  Picture:  Neil HannaBarrel House Bar & Grill, Jocks Lodge  Picture:  Neil Hanna
Barrel House Bar & Grill, Jocks Lodge Picture: Neil Hanna

London-based Alumno Group have lodged a pre-application notice proposing development of a large site on the corner of London Road and Restalrig Road South.

The plans are for student accommodation along with ground-floor commercial space.

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Alumno say they plan to organise an online consultation on the proposals in February.

There are already several student accommodation developments totalling 611 bed spaces in the pipeline for London Road.

The notorious Jock’s Lodge pub closed in 2011 after drug dealer James Carlin was shot on the premises, but after standing empty for several years the property was given a £280,000 refurbishment and reopened as the Barrelhouse Bar & Grill in November 2016, promising a relaxed, New Orleans-style setting, live music and quality food.

The bar would have to go to make way for the new development.

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John McLellan, Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston, criticised the appearance of the Barrelhouse when it opened, saying it looked like a shanty hut, but he believes it now plays an important part in the community.

And he said any future development of the site had to maintain the character of the area.

He said: "While I'm no fan of the exterior design of the Barrelhouse I do know the pub has worked very hard to attract customers and to play a part in community life and opened its facilities to hold meetings. The new management of the pub have worked very hard to integrate the pub into the local community and offer something the previous management didn't.

“The important thing is the character of the area is maintained and the facilities for the community are maintained. It does feel as if there is another block of brick-built student accommodation the whole of London Road becomes too sanitised.

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“We will have to look carefully at the quality of whatever might be brought forward to make sure it's not just another anodyne block of student flats and it does add something to the area, not detract from it."

And he hinted student accommodation might not be the most welcome use of the site.

"There is still a need for affordable housing across the city and with over 600 student places already in the pipeline for London Road I would encourage the developers to engage fully with the council and the local community to explore every possible use for the site should it be brought forward."

A spokesman for the Alumno Group said the project was still at an early stage and they were still developing our proposals for the site. “We look forward to developing our proposals in discussion with council planners and the local community in the new year.”

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Alumno says it specialises in creating high-quality and modern accommodation for students and has worked with universities and colleges to provide homes for more than 5,000 students in London, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Norwich and Bristol. Here it was involved in building accommodation in West Granton Road for Telford College in 2010 before it merged to form Edinburgh College.

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