Edinburgh housing: Student flat plans in Canonmills' Eyre Place see bosses at The Yard charity warn of dangers

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The Yard says proposed student flats will cause congestion on surrounding streets and has ‘grave concerns’ about the plans.

Leaders of a charity which cares for children with complex medical needs have spoken out about their fears over controversial plans for student flats which, if given the go-ahead, would overlook their building.

Bosses at The Yard, in Eyre Place Lane, said the building proposals for Eyre Place, Canonmills, would increase the number of people and traffic in the area and could make it difficult for ambulances to reach children with medical conditions such as epilepsy when they are in need of urgent care.

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Celine Sinclair, chief executive at The Yard, said: "We have grave concerns about the nature of this development and the sheer volume of people and traffic it will bring. The road leading to us could be blocked. Plans show it'd be a densely packed development. Some of our children have complex medical needs and ambulances can be required to attend. We also have concerns about a transient, student population overlooking a centre for vulnerable children.

The Yard provides services for children with complex needsThe Yard provides services for children with complex needs
The Yard provides services for children with complex needs

"There will be significant noise with people coming and going at all hours of the day. These proposals are distressing for the community. We strongly feel this development is not appropriate for here, while local services like GPs are already oversubscribed. I hope that our concerns will be heard.”

The charity, which has recently been awarded a five year contract to care for children with extreme medical needs, is the latest to add their voice opposing the plans. Proposals for 142 studio flats on the “complex” site attracted nearly 400 objections, with concerns raised about diminished amenities, noise and blocked light.

Local MSPs have now backed the charity’s concerns in a letter to Scottish Ministers and they warned that the local community feels ‘overlooked’. It comes after residents accused the developers behind the student housing plans of trying to ‘gag’ the local community following an appeal lodged by developers, which means a planned hearing will now not go ahead.

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Lothian MSP Miles Briggs penned the letter, which states that he and other MSPs are disappointed that the local community has been overlooked. It also asks the Scottish Government Reporter to agree to meet with residents ahead of any final decision.

The Yard on Eyre Place laneThe Yard on Eyre Place lane
The Yard on Eyre Place lane

Mr Briggs said: “Local residents have made it abundantly clear that they do not feel their concerns are being listened to. There are concerns about the size and scale of the proposed new student accommodation which would not be appropriate for the local residence. Ministers cannot simply ignore the concerns of local residents because it does not suit their agenda.”

Foysol Choudhury MSP added: “So many of my constituents have contacted me to tell me that the community is in despair and how furious they are that their voices can be silenced in such a manner. I fully understand their anger about this matter. The Scottish Government purportedly believes in local democracy, and yet planning legislation allows the voices of local councillors and residents to be bypassed. This legislation is clearly not fit for purpose. It is vital that local democracy is not circumvented, and that people’s voices are not silenced in this way.”

Developers CA Ventures have been contacted for comment.

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