Gorgie student flat bid set to fail

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Proposals to build flats for 139 students in Gorgie are set to be rejected by councillors after failed to win the backing of planners.

Scotmid wants to knock down its Gorgie Road store and replace it with a new supermarket below a block of student flats. But planners said the scheme was “unacceptable in terms of its massing, height, footprint, roof-scape and impact on the privacy and outlook of surrounding properties”.

An artist's impression of the proposed housing.

An artist's impression of the proposed housing.

The proposals are set to be rejected by the council’s development management sub committee on Wednesday without debate. The developers believe they have secured the backing of the community council, but planning officers said  “the community council did not comment on the application or request to be a consultee for the application”.

Scotmid has scaled back its original vision for the Gorgie Road site which was to build 152 student flats following 
consultation with the community.

Maurissa Fergusson, Scotmid Co-operative’s head of property, development and facilities, said: “We’re disappointed in the recommendation for refusal of the Gorgie Road development. We’ve received formal support from both the community council and over 100 local residents and businesses, which have welcomed our investment of £15 million into the area.

“We remain positive the design changes and reduction in scale of the accommodation will be seen as appropriate by the elected members and enable the development of this new state-of-the-art store and student accommodation to progress.”

The student flats were being planned for the former Scotmid site on Gorgie Road.

The student flats were being planned for the former Scotmid site on Gorgie Road.

The proposed flats are made up of two one-bedroom studios, one four-bed cluster, 14 five-bed clusters, four six-bed clusters, four eight-bed clusters and seven accessible studios.

Brian Smith, group operations director for Structured House Group, which has brought forward the plans with Scotmid, called on the committee to approve the proposals.

He said: “We are obviously disappointed at the recommendation, however along with Scotmid and our design team, we have worked hard to respond to the comments of the Edinburgh Urban Design Panel and this has led to significant changes to materials, massing and a reduction in the amount of accommodation. This is an outstanding re-development opportunity for the area, one that has garnered support from the local community, and we hope that the changes made are met with positivity.”

The development does not include any vehicle parking and cycle parking spaces are proposed within the ground floor amenity area. In the original scheme, the front elevation was set further forward – facing Gorgie Road at the upper levels by two metres and the top floor by four metres.

The original proposals were “slightly greater in mass, had a larger footprint and proposed materials were honey coloured buff brick, bronze cladding and windows and red pre-cast stone.”