Edinburgh student flats: Developer behind rejected Eyre Place plan bids to overturn decision with new appeal

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Six months after last appeal was rejected, developer appeals to against latest refusal

The developer behind rejected plans for student flats at Canonmills is seeking to overturn the decision with a second appeal.

The controversial application for a “monolithic” five-storey block of 139 student flats on a former builders’ yard in Eyre Place was unanimously refused by the city’s development management sub-committee last month amid strong opposition from nearby residents who feared the new building would reduce their sunlight and become a noise nuisance.

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An earlier similar application for the same site by the same developer, CA Ventures, had been refused by a Scottish Government planning reporter six months earlier, after the the company appealed before the council had considered the plans.

The block of student flats has been reduced from six to five storeys, but councillors said it was still 'overbearing'.The block of student flats has been reduced from six to five storeys, but councillors said it was still 'overbearing'.
The block of student flats has been reduced from six to five storeys, but councillors said it was still 'overbearing'.

But now CA Ventures has lodged another appeal against the latest refusal. A letter to residents who objected to the application says the council received notification of the appeal on December 21. Anyone wanting to make additional comments has until January 18 to do so.

The previous appeal failed when the planning reporter said the scale of the proposed student block meant it would have a dominant presence and it conflicted with planning policies on sunlight, privacy and noise. Residents argued the revised application was too similar to the previous proposals and the new block would still be too dominant.

The latest plans reduced the block from six storeys to five and cut the number of flats from 142 to 139, but the building extended further up the lane, the communal garden of the neighbouring tenement was still overshadowed, and the plans included two roof terraces, which residents said would inevitably mean significant noise.

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Residents have complained that throughout both applications they have had virtually no contact from the developer and the community’s views have been ignored.

Refusing the latest proposal, councillors cited over 450 objections, the concerns over loss of daylight and privacy and the “overbearing” scale of the proposed building, as well as late-night noise from the roof terraces.

Mother-of-three Hannah Edwards, one of the objectors, said she was disappointed but not surprised that the developers had appealed despite the firm rejection of their plans.

She said: "It’s not entirely unexpected. They are ambitious commercial developers, I guess we thought this might happen. But given the unanimous nature of the decision and the strong recommendation to engage with the community and come up with something better, you’d hope they might take those comments on board. I guess what they really want is maximum profit and they’ll purse every route possible to do that."

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The appeal will now be considered by a Scottish Government planning reporter and a decision is expected by March 14.

Ms Edwards said: “You never know about these things and we have to go into it with our eyes open, but I really hope since there’s such strong public feeling and that fact it was unanimously rejected by the committee, it would be pretty undemocratic for one person to overturn that.”