Edinburgh student accommodation: Application submitted for Jock's Lodge development with some changes
Developers proposing new student accommodation at Edinburgh’s Jock’s Lodge have made changes to the plans following pubic consultation.
Alumno Group said it had reduced the height of the development in response to local feedback and also expanded the commercial element with an outdoor terrace before submitting the official planning application for the scheme.
The proposed purpose-built student accommodation of 191 student rooms, along with ground-floor commercial space, at the corner of Restalrig Road South and London Road, will mean the demolition of the former Jock’s Lodge pub, now The Willow. The operators of the pub have now opened a new bar, now trading as Willow on Musselburgh High Street, following an agreement with Heineken, though the pub at Jock’s Lodge is expected to continue until work starts on the development.
Alumno said the overall massing of the development had been reduced from the eight storeys originally envisaged to seven, while revised floor-to-floor heights and a shortening of the parapet had significantly reduced the building height further. And the developers said they had increased the commercial area, with an additional outdoor terrace. The proposed commercial space will include a new community local food and drink use, replacing the neighbouring Limelite pub, but under the same local ownership. It added that existing local businesses on the site all agreed to its sale as current facilities were no longer commercially viable.
A pre-application notice for the development, submitted in December 2020, prompted protests that the area was becoming saturated with student accommodation. And in August 2022, Craigentinny/Duddingston SNP councillor Danny Aston called for the plans to be scrapped in the face of the urgent need for affordable housing. But Alumno said the development would still leave the concentration of students in the area within an acceptable threshold.
The company said that all the student accommodation currently in use, approved or at application stage would take the student population of the area to 10.1 per cent of the resident population, which would still be “significantly lower” than the proportion of full-time students living in the Southside/Newington, City Centre, Meadows/Morningside and Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart wards. It said the development would address rapidly increased demand for student accommodation and provide a much-needed boost for local businesses through increased footfall. And it claimed expected spending in the local area by the students living at the Jock’s Lodge development was estimated to be more than £900,000 per year.
The student accommodation will comprise a mix of single bedrooms with shared kitchens and larger studio-style bedrooms. Facilities provided will include a ground-floor lounge, study, gym and social spaces, with generous cycle storage provision, laundry and storage. External amenites include a rear landscaped courtyard and external terraces at roof level. Largely car-free, the development will have two parking spaces included, one of which will be an accessible/disabled parking space.
David Campbell, founder of Alumno said: “This exciting mixed-use scheme will serve to ease the acute housing pressures by providing greater options whilst, addressing the increasing and well-documented, student housing demand by providing modern, high quality and well managed accommodation.
“We have listened to the responses of the local community through our thorough consultation process and have reduced the height of the building to accommodate this feedback.
“Employment and investment will be generated both during construction and once complete, increasing footfall to local shops and also serving to provide a new sustainable food/drink outlet for the community, including outdoor space. We are committed to being a good neighbour and believe our plans will make the best and most positive impact on what is a highly constrained and challenging urban site.”