First Look: Student flats and hotel ruled out of Meadowbank development

STUDENT housing and a new hotel have been ruled out of proposals to transform part of the former Meadowbank Stadium site into an “active travel village”, council chiefs have confirmed.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 5:51 pm
An artist's impression of the proposed Meadowbank housing development, picture: Edinburgh Council

The site, which received outline planning permission for a mixed-use development in June 2018, will now be made up of affordable and private housing – after residents and community groups voiced concerns over student accommodation being built.

The original mixed-use outline permission also included potentially building a hotel on the site – but this move has also now been ruled out by the SNP-Labour coalition.

Construction of the new £45m Meadowbank sports centre at the site is currently taking place – which is being funded through grants and also from income generated through the proposed housing development.

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The proposed active travel and landscaping for the new Meadowbank housing development, Picture: Edinburgh Council

St Margaret’s House and the former Boots opticians and Ashley Ann showroom site, both on London Road, have secured planning permission for student housing developments to be built.

A report to councillors for the Boots site said “41 buses per hour in each direction can be accessed within a five minute walk of the site”.

Detailed plans for Meadowbank are set to be submitted to planners in the autumn but it is likely to include minimal car use with a focus on pedestrians, cyclists and public transport links along London Road.

Extensive meetings have been held by the Meadowbank Sounding Board, which has included input with the community, the council’s housing and transport officers and Collective Architecture – who are drawing up plans for the scheme.

Proposals for the Meadowbank housing development, Picture: Edinburgh Council

Discussions are ongoing over potential healthcare and nursery provision as part of the final plans for the scheme.

Cllr Kate Campbell, the council’s housing and economy convener, hopes the development can become an “active travel village” that could include pedestrianised areas.

She said: “We’ve listened to the local community and responded to their concerns about the original proposals. There will be no student housing within the development. The new homes will be a mix of affordable and private homes.

“This development will be based on the principles of active travel with connections into the existing neighbourhood. The proposals put a focus on the landscape, environment and trees. There will be quality spaces for children to play and for everyone to enjoy, creating a sustainable development which will be an amazing place to live and an asset for the wider community.

“We have to thank the local community for the important role they have played, engaging with and shaping the process and, ultimately, helping to produce these incredibly exciting proposals.”

The proposed layout has been adjusted to ensure the new flats will not overlook existing homes on Marionville, to the north of the site. But some of the blocks could be as high as seven-stories.

Consultation so far has involved eight public events, four design workshops and an online survey. The final phase of consultation will provide an opportunity for members of the community to review and comment on the proposed masterplan which will include new affordable homes, new active travel routes, landscaping and space for a new GP surgery. A final consultation event is being held today (27) between 1pm and 3.30pm at Craigentinny Community Centre on Loaning Road.

The former Meadowbank Stadium has full planning permission to be knocked down and transformed into a community sports centre. Demolition is currently taking place, while work on the new sports centre is expected to begin in the summer and completed in 2020.