London Road student flats ‘to bring jobs boost’

The new development would be beside Medoawbank Stadium. Pic: Jane Barlow
The new development would be beside Medoawbank Stadium. Pic: Jane Barlow
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A MAJOR development featuring a hotel, shops and student flats will be built next to one of the main roads into the city centre potentially creating ­hundreds of jobs.

More than 21,000 square feet of residential, retail and hotel space will be created at London Road, next to Meadowbank Sports Centre, if ­proposals from property firm Caledonian Trust get the green light. The complex is also set to provide up to 350 bedrooms aimed at Edinburgh’s burgeoning population of university and college students.

Councillor Alex Lunn, SNP member for ­Craigentinny and Duddingston, said: “I welcome any development that will create jobs and bring in an economic boost to the area.”

Currently occupied by a vacant office building, the London Road site could also host landmark public spaces as developers seek to breathe new life into the wider area.

Fresh proposals have been lodged in a bid to resurrect previous regeneration attempts in the area which were approved in 2011 but stalled amid financial and economic uncertainty.

In a consultation report, designers at Michael Laird Architects said their “masterplan” envisaged a significant revamp of London Road and surrounding districts.

They said: “The formation of urban blocks could allow for semi-public courtyard spaces behind the streetscape proposed along London Road.

“Such spaces would allow for recreation and amenity for the development inhabitants and provide a visual focus for the development.”

And they said the approach being pursued at London Road could provide a model for renewing adjacent neighbourhoods.

“The urban block approach could in theory be replicated throughout the masterplan study area and provide a strong pattern for urban growth in the area,” the report states.

Political figures have welcomed the plans and predicted they would be viewed positively by the local business community. Cllr Lunn added: “There are a lot of small businesses in that area which will welcome the influx that the development will potentially bring and I would expect the economic benefits to start accruing pretty much immediately.”

Proposals for a major new student flats development next to one of the main routes heading into the city centre are likely to spark some ­concern amid fears the Capital is already suffering from an “over-saturation” of university accommodation.

But Cllr Lunn said he thought residents would have a pragmatic attitude towards the plans and their impact.

He said: “We have to expect this to create lots of jobs for local people, and there are many local people who also go to our universities and colleges.”