Application submitted for controversial plan to turn old Edinburgh school into student accommodation
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The school relocated from the site more than a decade ago and the building has fallen into a state of disrepair. S1 Developments say careful restoration of the original Category B-listed school building forms an integral part of the proposals.
And they insist the proposed 500-unit development far exceeds amenity standards for similar student developments.
Under the plans, the original school hall would become a “central amenity hub”, sitting within a “collegiate-style” courtyard space and providing shared facilities for the student residents.
Proposed landscaping would increase green space across the site by more than 40 per cent.
And the developers say sustainability is key to the plans, with zero parking, 100 per cent cycle parking, use of low carbon technologies and no use of fossil fuels.
Local residents and campaign group Living Rent protested at the plans earlier this year, saying they wanted more social housing and affordable properties in the area instead of purpose built student accommodation
The developers say council guidance points to the benefits of purpose-built student accommodation in freeing up traditional housing stock for families with children and claim a development like this could release up to 180 properties back into the housing market. They say local businesses would also benefit through increased spending from the students.
S1 Developments also announced that if the proposals are approved, LOVE Gorgie Farm would operate an extensive community garden within the site, seeking to engage children and young people in its environmental programmes; and another charity, People Know How, would run a community facility in the building, with the option for other local community groups to use space.
Dan Teague, director at S1 Developments, said: "We're delighted to be submitting a planning application for this exciting development, and to also highlight our involvement with two charities who do such valuable work in local communities.
“As S1 Developments we develop sites to suit the location and have delivered hundreds of homes, including affordable homes across the city.
"Following our careful assessment of this site, we feel that student development is the most appropriate use given the constraints. This will not only secure the redevelopment of the Old Tynecastle High School, and provide a boost to the local economy, but also allows us to develop the site in manner which is compatible with neighbouring uses.
“The original school building has fallen into a sorry state since it ceased being a school over a decade ago. Whilst the redevelopment is challenging, we are hopeful that the proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, benefitting the local community.”
Julie O’Donnell, head of LOVE Gorgie Farm, said she was excited about the prospect of operating the community garden. “With the environment and climate change such topical issues the garden will complement superbly what we do at the farm in the terms of educating our children and young people on nature and the delivery of an eco-friendly future.”
And Glenn Liddall, chief executive of People Know How, said many students already worked with his charity through volunteering, internships and placements.