The 'courage' to blight future construction in city - John McLellan

Murrayfield Sports BarMurrayfield Sports Bar
Murrayfield Sports Bar
In a city where land available for development is in extremely short supply, it takes some, shall we say, courage to blight relatively straightforward sites from future construction.

If, for example, 199 of the next 200 years are unremarkable, but heavy rain is a problem for a day or two in the one year that isn’t, should that mean a plot of land 250 metres from a river should never be developed?

That is the implication of another questionable decision by Edinburgh Council’s development management sub-committee, to reject an application for a block of student flats on the corner of Westfield Road, currently occupied by the rather forbidding Murrayfield sports bar. Objections were raised by the community council against the principle of student flats, but not because of flood risk. That came from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and the council’s own flood planning guidance which said a one in 200 years chance was too much.

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When it comes to student flats, most of the committee do their best to find reasons to refuse and here it was on a plate. I’d bet the price of a small planning application (£600) it would have been approved if it had been for affordable housing, but as it stands nothing can be built on that site because the flood objections were accepted. The site’s development value has been destroyed.

And when every other ground floor resident on Westfield Road and indeed Stevenson Road gets their new house insurance quotes they’ll know why if the bill has shot up.