Historic Edinburgh Old Town buildings could be demolished and replaced with student flats under new plans
Proposals to demolish buildings in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town and build student flats have been given the green light – just months after beng refused by the City of Edinburgh Council.
The planning application for a development of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) in the Canongate has now been approved following an appeal by property developers to the Scottish Government.
Summix (CGE) Developments and S Harrison have been granted permission for the partial demolition of existing buildings and the delivery of PBSA on the site that was once part of the 19th century gasworks at 179A Canongate.
The planning application was initially refused by the Council in August 2022, and Historic Environment Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage have both opposed the proposals.
Comprising 76 studio rooms, the scheme will be targeted at postgraduate students. The ground floor includes an open courtyard with sitting areas and planters, internal shared amenity space, plus two study rooms, a gym and a multimedia room.
Located opposite the Holyrood Campus of Edinburgh University and within easy reach of other university facilities, the site is well suited to the provision of much-needed PBSA.
Nearby bus routes and plenty of cycling storage on site make it a highly accessible location.
The Reporter granted planning permission, noting that: “The proposed development utilises a brownfield site making efficient use of existing land and buildings. It supports the delivery of accessible accommodation and is appropriately located in walking distance to education facilities, local amenities, and public transport. The scale, form and design respects the historic environment and mitigation measures are incorporated to safeguard the amenity of existing and future occupiers.”
David Clancy of S Harrison said: “We’re thrilled our application has been approved by the Scottish Government Reporter.
“These proposals will redevelop an unloved site in the heart of the capital and provide much-needed PBSA in a highly sustainable location, situated so close to many university buildings.
“We are pleased to see that the Reporter noted that the proposed PBSA does not result in an ‘excessive concentration’ of student accommodation in the area and will fit in with the nearby listed buildings, preserving the character and appearance of the Old Town Conservation Area.
“Our proposals are part of the wider redevelopment of this part of the city centre and will help to bring life and economic activity to the area.”