Edinburgh residents who won battle against Eyre Place student flats say any future developers must engage
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Residents who won a battle to stop a five-storey block of student flats on their doorstep have said future developers wanting to build on the site must engage with the community and produce plans which fit with the area.
Councillors last week unanimously rejected the plans for 139 studio flats and seven townhouses at Eyre Place, Canonmills, citing loss of daylight and privacy and the “overbearing” scale of the proposed building. The application attracted 450 objections. And the residents said there had been little change to the proposals since a previous application for the site went to the Scottish Government on appeal and was refused earlier this year.
The applicants, CA Ventures, could still appeal again, but those who campaigned against the plans are hoping the decisive nature of the refusal will mean the company accepts the outcome. The residents have previously said they recognise the site, formerly a builders’ yard, will be developed but they would prefer affordable housing and something less dominant than the proposed student block.
Mother-of-three Hannah Edwards, one of the campaigners, welcomed the refusal. “It feels as if we've had an early Christmas present,” she said. “It's a big weight off the shoulders for now anyway. Hopefully we can just relax and enjoy Christmas without this hanging over us.” She is hoping the developers will not lodge a fresh appeal. “The fact it was so strongly opposed b the community and unanimously rejected by the sub-committee would make it very difficult at appeal to justify overturning that.”
And she indicated locals would be open to a more appropriate development which fitted the area and took the views of neighbouring residents into account.
“We wouldn't even be against student accommodation,” she said. “We just felt this was a very greedy development – trying to make as much money as possible, no matter the consequences on those around. And it wasn't great living space for future residents either because they tried to pack so many rooms in.
“The main issue was just how overbearing it was, how much it would affect sunlight to the garden and people's outlook – they literally just crammed as much building into that small space as possible. And the other main concern was the two large roof terraces and the noise implications of that when it’s a social space for 139 students and possibly tourists in the summer months. You don't need to be a genius to work out that it will be noisy no matter what they try and say to the contrary.”
Ms Edwards said CA Ventures had shown no interest in discussing their proposals with the residents. “There was a total lack of engagement with the community. We're a very engaged community so we hope in the future any developers might involve us a bit more – it might work out better all round then.”