Plan for luxury Edinburgh care home thrown out over 'serious concerns'

Plans for 62 bedroom care home on outskirts of city centre have been quashed.
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Plans to build a modern 62-bedroom care home near Fairmilehead have been thrown out over ‘serious concerns’ about the scale of the development and potential harm to conservation area.

Scottish Ministers upheld the city council decision to reject plans to raze a large two-storey villa built in the late 1930s on part of the Morton House estate to make way for the modern ‘luxury’ home.

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The application to create a three-storey development at the Winton Road site with 62-bedrooms, private dining room, cinema and spa as well as landscaped garden areas was refused planning permission in December 2022 by the council.

The care home plans have been refused on appealThe care home plans have been refused on appeal
The care home plans have been refused on appeal

Northcare Scotland Ltd appealed but the proposals but the Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) upheld the decision on grounds it would have an ‘adverse effects on the character, appearance and setting of the adjacent conservation area’.

In a notice from a Scottish Government appointed reporter it said: “The proposed development would result in the site accommodating a building very substantially more massive than the generally quite large dwelling houses prevailing in the locality.”

"I acknowledge that the provision of care home accommodation, as the appeal development proposes, would contribute beneficially to meeting local requirements for such

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specialist housing. I also accept that the proposed development would provide high quality accommodation for residents, would be of some benefit in economic terms and would involve the re-use of a previously developed site. However, these positive factors do not outweigh the harm that I have found would be caused by the proposed development.”

It comes amid a wide-ranging strategic review of care needs in the capital. A crisis in funding and staffing has seen swingeing cuts totalling £33 million to the city's health and social care budget hitting essential services for the city's most vulnerable residents.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Labour councillor for Colinton and Fairmilehead, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government's reporter listened to local people and rejected this appeal. They correctly say it would have adversely affected the setting of the conservation area and have a negative impact on the amenity of the locality. I would like to congratulate everyone who opposed this development, they have now been vindicated twice. I hope the owner of the site will now work constructively with local residents to decide its future.

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Most people want more residential care provision in my Ward, but developments of this scale must be designed in partnership with the community and be better connected to local services.”

Northcare Ltd has been contacted for comment.

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