'Alien intrusion' flats refused permission by Edinburgh Council

COUNCILLORS have rejected a bid to build 20 flats in Murrayfield after being labelled “an alien intrusion” for neighbours.

The proposals for the flats on Corstorphine Road
The proposals for the flats on Corstorphine Road

Square and Crescent Ltd submitted proposals to demolish an existing villa and garage on Corstorphine Road and build a four-storey block of flats. The block, wedged between Corstorphine Road and Roseburn Park, would have been made up of 14 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom apartments.

The developers proposed to provide 18 car parking spaces along with 44 secure cycle parking spaces. The plans received 27 objections and 32 letters of support form the public.

Councillors overturned a recommendation by planning officers to grant planning permission and blocked the development from going ahead.

Planning officers told the council’s development management sub-committee that five affordable homes, supposed to be provided on the site, were “discounted due to the development costs”.

Officers added: “Although the communal open space doesn’t meet the open space standards, the proximity to Roseburn Park benefits the level of provision that we see in the scheme.

“We think it is a positive response to the site and where it is positioned and the different densities of buildings that are there. We think it is appropriate in that context.”

SEPA objected to the proposals over flooding concerns, while Murrayfield Community Council also called for the plans to be halted – saying the 20 flats were “excessive on what is a rather small plot of land” and claimed “we do not find the proposed development to pay sufficient respect to its surroundings”.

Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, said: “I do accept that the principle that we may seek to densify the city to some extent. In this application, it doesn’t comply with the amenity space that’s required for the 20 units. I think if they had less development on it, they would be able to comply.

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“They have chosen to have 18 car spaces, whereas they could have less car space and more amenity space. The green space at the entry isn’t going to be very useful – it’s only going to be an entry point into the building.”

Cllr Alex Staniforth added: “I’m not convinced the design suits the character of the immediate area.”

But Cllr Cameron Rose said the application was “pretty reasonable”.

He added: “There is a certain amount of amenity here with the green space in front of it.

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“These are new houses and not everybody will require the amount of amenity we may have in our heads, in terms of green space or whatever, when they are looking to live in Edinburgh. People will purchase these knowing exactly what the amenity is.”

But Cllr Joanna Mowat backed called for the plans to be rejected.

She said: “All the gardens that run along the Water of Leith are suddenly going to have this alien intrusion. It has an impact on their outlook and amenity.

“You suddenly have a car park where you had a garden adjacent to a garden. I don’t think that’s particularly acceptable.”

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The committee voted to turn down the proposals.