Edinburgh Council approves 394 student flats for Gorgie

COUNCILLORS have approved proposals to build almost 400 student flats in Gorgie – despite planning officials warning against granting permission.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 17:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 17:58 pm
A block of student flats will be built in Gorgie

Harrison Developments will build the seven-storey accommodation at Westfield Road – replacing a former furniture store, vacant old office building and car park. The 394 student bedrooms will be made up of shared flats ranging from six to 10 bed spaces and self-contained studio accommodation. Study spaces, common areas, a games room and a gym are also proposed for the development.

Officials had recommended the plans for refusal – but admitted the scheme “is appropriate in design, will provide adequate amenity to future occupiers

and will not be to the detriment of neighbouring amenity”. But planners warned the proposals do not meet the authority’s non-statutory student housing guidance and a housing planning policy. But councillors voted in favour of approving planning permission.

Cllr Cameron Rose said the application was a “slam dunk appeal” that could be overturned by the applicants and warned “the benefits of this have been clearly explained”.

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Cllr Frank Ross added: “I like this design – the area is in need of regeneration.

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The developers welcomed the decision.

David Clancy from Harrison said: “We are clearly delighted with the decision taken by councillors and the fact that this project has been given the green light. This development will serve to redevelop a brownfield site into much-needed student accommodation.

“Delivering a high-quality design it will enhance the whole area and introduce a new economically and socially active people into the locality, enhancing its character, vibrancy and demographic diversity. It also serves to free up general housing stock, in accordance with the council’s student guidance.

“We look forward to getting these proposals underway and to continue working with council officials and the local community to deliver this development.”