Edinburgh housing developments: Student flats approved at site of the former Tynecastle High School
and live on Freeview channel 276
The old school site on McLeod Street at the back of Hearts’ Tynecastle Stadium has been sitting in a time capsule since the school moved to new facilities in January 2010 at the top of the street on the corner with Gorgie Road.
In addition to 468 bed spaces, the original school hall will be repurposed as a central amenity hub, sitting within a collegiate-style courtyard space and providing high quality shared facilities for student residents. Landscaping proposals increase green space across the site by more than 40 per cent, which developers claim will increase biodiversity within the local area. The development has been designed to be “highly sustainable” with zero parking, 100 per cent cycle parking, the employment of low carbon technologies and no use of fossil fuels.
In his report, the Reporter noted that the “development of the site for mainstream housing would be constrained by the presence of the listed buildings”, making student development a more viable option. In addition, he identified the site – which is dominated by the football ground and North British Distillery – as being more suitable for students “who would only spend part of their year in residence” and then only for the length of their University or college courses.
The Reporter also noted the proximity of universities and colleges to the site and that the student population in the local area, including the proposed development, would be approximately 24 per cent and therefore not lead to an overly concentrated student population in the area.
The “careful restoration” of the original Category B-listed school building forms an integral part of the proposals. Developers said the benefits of student accommodation include freeing up housing stock for families – and it has been estimated that a development like this could release up to 180 properties.
Charity ‘People Know How’ will act as preferred operators for community facilities on the site. It already works with Tynecastle High School and will operate a community facility within the building. The charity supports children, young people in Edinburgh to transition from primary to high school, helps individuals access the digital world, and assists communities to shape their areas through community consultation and empowerment. A large number of students volunteer to work with the charity.
Dan Teague, Director at S1 Developments, said: "We're delighted to have received planning permission for this exciting development. The original school building has fallen into a sorry state since it ceased being a school over a decade ago. Whilst the redevelopment is challenging, our proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, benefitting the local community.
“The Reporter also noted that this was a site more suitable for student housing than mainstream housing due to the constraints of the stadium and North British Distillery. We look forward to working constructively with the community in delivering this development.”