Proposals to transform a former high school into housing have been approved despite worries over transport and affordable housing.
The city council’s Development Management Sub-Committee granted permission for 104 flats to be built at the former Boroughmuir High School as well as a new tenement block next to the former school in Viewforth.
Only 17 of the flats will be affordable housing, with a “community sum” paid by the developers for the remaining units to be provided at another site. The development by CALA Homes will also include 98 car parking spaces on the former playground and 223 cycle spaces.
The initial plans for the tenement block, which will contain all the affordable homes, were rejected last year – with developers now reducing the block from six to five stories and 20 to 17 flats. The plans also failed to meet the council’s open space policy.
Councillor Hal Osler was “deeply concerned” over the affordable housing proposals, which only include one and two-bedroom properties. But Cllr Joanna Mowat said the developers had responded to the initial proposals being rejected.
She added: “The previous application did provide the affordable housing on site but was rejected because of the impact. That’s why we don’t have all the affordable housing on site.”
Cllr Chas Booth said the affordable housing block “isn’t exactly bonnie” while Cllr Denis Dixon added that it “doesn’t enhance the area”.
Councillors touted whether on-street parking could be reduced to encourage residents to consider walking and cycling. But Cllr Mowat said that arrangement would be “unfair on people already living there”. She added: “It will have a very negative impact on existing residents. It will just cause a major headache.”
The development will create 87 split-level apartments in the former school classroom block.
Gavin Pope, land director of CALA Homes (East), said: “We’re extremely pleased that the careful process of community consultation and close work with planning officers has come to fruition.
“We appreciate that no development will be universally popular, however, this design solution represents the outcome of a lot of hard work to update our proposal in line with responses to our planning application.”
Cllr John McLellan said the contribution towards affordable housing would help the council’s redevelopment of Fountainbridge.
Ward Cllr Melanie Main wanted CALA to provide more on-site affordable housing as part of the scheme.
She said: “I am disappointed to see that the opportunity to provide more affordable housing in the area has not been taken.