Residents set for fight against new Edinburgh student accommodation plans

Concerned locals have set up a campaign group about potential plans in Leith.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 6:00 am
Residents have set up a campaign group inspired by Save Leith Walk

Residents have raised concerns about developer plans to build yet another block of student flats in Leith.

It is believed that developers, Manson Architects and Planners are close to submitting proposals for a six-story building on Iona Street ahead of Christmas.

The development could house more than 500 people across student accommodation and residential flats.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However residents on Iona Street, Buchanan Street, Albert Street and Sloan Street, who are now joining together to positively influence the development, worry that the development will result in a strain on local services as well as add to the already disproportionate number of student accommodations in the area.

A spokesperson for the resident campaign group, Save Iona Street (SIS), said: “Our hope is that the developers will listen to the community, and change their plans accordingly, ideally to a smaller development that complements the existing atmosphere of the local area and has adequate provisions built in.

“There are already 10 developed or proposed dedicated student accommodations within half a mile of Iona Street. We believe the community needs mixed-housing that welcomes everyone and prioritises affordable and social housing.”

Inspired by 'Save Leith Walk' campaign

The Save Iona Street campaign was inspired by the success of the grassroots Save Leith Walk campaign in responding to demolition plans of the Art Deco sandstone building at Stead’s Place.

On their website, Save Iona Street also raise concerns about the density of student-only accommodation in Leith, the lack of social and affordable housing within the development which currently stands at just over 12 percent and the lack of parking provisions and strain on already stretched public amenities and local services.

Ben Macpherson, MSP Edinburgh North and Leith said: “I understand why my constituents on Iona Street are concerned about the height of this proposed development, and the detrimental impact that this could have on daylight coming into existing flats.

“I have raised this issue in particular with the developers and urge them to respond to residents’ concerns.”

Mr Macpherson added new powers within the Planning Act, passed this year, could help.

He said: “People in Leith, rightly, have strong opinions about the development of their urban environment.

“In the near future, residents will have greater influence at the earliest stages of planning.

“In the meantime, I urge developers to respond to the views of residents and to work together with communities to deliver good development that reflects local needs and aspirations.”

Manson Architects and Planners were approached for comment but did not respond to our request.