Gorgie student housing plans set to be refused by Edinburgh Council
Scaled-back plans to build two blocks of student flats along Gorgie Road have been recommended for refusal by council officials over a lack of residential homes.
S Harrison has put forward reduced plans for 248 purpose-built student homes next to the Water of Leith after an initial proposal for 269 beds was scaled-back after discussions between the developers and Edinburgh City Council officials. But the revised scheme has been recommended for refusal when the authority’s development management sub-committee meets on Wednesday.
If approved by councillors, the student accommodation will be built in two blocks – made up of 35 studio rooms and a mixture of clusters ranging from six to 10 bedrooms. Of the 248 bedrooms, 25 cluster spaces will be accessible and three studios will be accessible.
Harrison is proposing to install 254 secure external cycle parking spaces at five locations around the site – while four disabled car parking spaces have been included in the plans. Block A, which sits at the eastern side of the site rises to four storeys. The second block, which will be build to the west of the site, appears as a five, six and seven storey building.
But in a report to councillor, officials have recommended that the scheme is rejected “as it does not deliver housing at the site”.
They added: “The proposed student accommodation at this site is of an appropriate design and appearance. Privacy and amenity of neighbouring properties is maintained to an acceptable level and future residents will experience a good quality of internal and external amenity.
“Taking a balanced view of development plan and associated guidance objectives, the proposal is not considered acceptable in principle as general housing is not included as a proportion of development at the site in combination with the student accommodation.”
But S Harrison believe “the character and residential amenity will be enhanced by the redevelopment”, which they label a “high quality design that will introduce new economically and socially active people into the area”.
Last month, the company secured planning permission to build a seven-storey student housing development on Westfield Road, also in Gorgie, with councillors overturning a recommendation of refusal.
David Clancy from Harrison said: “This purpose-built student accommodation proposal will serve to free up general housing stock in the face of an increasing student population, in accordance with the council’s student housing guidance, as well as redeveloping a current brownfield site.
“We are conscious that this application is being recommended for refusal on the grounds that student housing guidance notes that if a site is over 0.25 hectares it should have 50 per cent housing on it. However, this is only required if needed to address a potential imbalance in the community, a situation which does not exist in this case given the relatively low level of student accommodation here already.”
He added: “Given the constraints of the site, not only would considerably fewer homes be delivered than could be delivered through student accommodation, but including housing on this site presents significant management issues, is not viable socially or financially and creates unsatisfactory living environments for both students and the occupiers of the housing.
“Last month our student scheme at Westfield Road was granted consent by the committee, despite refusal being recommended by council officials on the same grounds. In addition to this, it should be noted that there are only four objections to our scheme and we have the support of the neighbouring Diadem church.”