Edinburgh student flats: Calls for Tynecastle High School plans to be scrapped amid claims area 'flooded' with student housing

An Edinburgh councillor who claims Gorgie is ‘flooded’ with purpose built student accommodation is calling for controversial plans for the former Tynecastle school site to be thrown out.

Plans to build 468 student flats on the site of the former Tynecastle High School in Edinburgh will now be referred to a committee meeting by planners, following 233 letters of objection.

Since the plans for the derelict school came to light over a year ago, local residents have hit out at the proposals backed by local campaigners in calling for social housing instead of student flats. Protests have been held outside the gates by Living Rent tenant union members who opposed the plans.

SNP councillor Catherine Fullerton has welcomed the plans saying the site is ‘appropriate’ for student housing and will restore much of the original building/facades as a reminder of the old school.

Councillor McKenzie supports campaign against the plans

The Cockburn Association stated they will back the plans though called for no additional student flats to be considered in the area if permission is granted.

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But Labour councillor for Gorgie Ross McKenzie said the area is already ‘flooded’ with student accommodation and has raised concerns about pressure on local services.

Ross Mackenzie said: "Unfortunately, SNP ward councillors have been promoting this scheme since before the application was even submitted, ignoring concerns and the very clearly stated wishes of the community.

Living Rent held demonstration against the plans

"A false narrative has been formed in relation to the history of the site – the truth is that it has been land banked for years and there has never been any work done to consider how it can be used in the interests of the people of Gorgie.

“Gorgie/Dalry has been flooded with Purpose Built Student Accommodation in recent years with thousands more beds in the pipeline. The community opposition to this application has been overwhelming.

"The application does not do enough to mitigate the effects of industrial noise coming from the North British Distillery. The plans place most of the 468 students in the noisiest part of the site where they won't even be able to open their windows.

“Purpose Built Student Accommodation just helps the universities to continue expanding at a rate that local infrastructure can’t support. It causes developers to see brownfield sites as a cash cow and dis-incentivises them from investing in the real housing that the city needs.

"Applications like these do nothing to consider the needs of the community. We need to stop approving them".

Chair of Living Rent Gorgie, Dalry branch Aditi Jehangir said: "We have heard from so many community members that more PBSA is not wanted in our area, Gorgie Dalry already has one of the highest concentrations of student beds in the city.

"PBSA rents are typically far in excess of private rental sector rents, contributing to the over-supply of unaffordable housing in Edinburgh. It's bad for students, bad for communities and takes up space that can be used for affordable housing.”

Responding to these concerns, Dan Teague, director at S1 Developments, said: "Following our careful assessment of the Old Tynecastle High School site, we feel that student development is the most appropriate use given the severe constraints - 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, we are hopeful that the proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, benefiting the local community."