Pinkhill flats plans set to be approved despite residents' privacy fears

RESIDENTS are pleading with councillors to reject proposals to demolish an office block to make way for flats – over privacy concerns and increased levels of traffic.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 7:01 am
Residents campaign against previous Pinkhill development plans. Pic Ian Georgeson.

Dandara has drawn up revised plans to replace the redundant Pinkhill office block, Traquair House, with flats – and has won the support of planners who have recommended that councillors on the city council’s development management sub-committee approve the proposals on Wednesday.

Original six-story plans for 75 apartments have been reduced twice by Dandara for the site, close to Edinburgh Zoo.

If approved, the current office block will be knocked down to make way for a four-storey building with 46 apartments. The housing will consist of two studios, 16 one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom apartments and six three-bedroom flats.

The development will include 11 affordable homes, while balconies will be provided for 26 of the apartments. Proposals include 43 car parking spaces, with three accessible and seven electric vehicle spaces. The car parking will be controlled with an entrance barrier and spaces will not be allocated.

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In a report to councillors, officers said: “The proposal’s overall layout, design, use of materials and density is consistent with the objectives of the local development plan and the development will make a positive contribution to the local area by bringing a previously developed site in to residential use.

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“Parking at the site will remain at a similar level when compared to the site’s most recent use and neighbouring amenity will not be affected by traffic coming to and from the site.”

Dandara say that the site is “ideally suited to attract residents who do not wish to rely on a car to travel to work”.

But neighbours have raised fears the development will add to levels of parking on residential streets, while concerns have been highlighted over privacy for locals.

John Kerr, from the Pinkhill residents association, has written to councillors, urging them to refuse planning permission.

He said: “The proposed design, height and massing continues to damage the privacy and amenity of adjacent properties. The apartments on the top two floors on the west side will still tower above the private houses and gardens. The modified slatted windows will continue to destroy their privacy.

“I fail to understand why Dandara can not design a building that would be lessintrusive of privacy and which would have slightly fewer apartments andsufficient car parking. Instead they have designed an austere, rectangulardesign that maximises profits at the expense of people’s privacy and amenity.”

The developers are adamant the revised plans will provide much-needed housing for the Capital.

Niall Macleod, Dandara land director, said: “This is an important development on a brownfield site which will provide much-needed new homes and affordable housing in Edinburgh.

“It will be new housing that is fully integrated into the city. We have worked to actively address concerns raised during the previous planning application. The revised plans have reduced the height of the building by a storey and are for fewer properties than previously proposed. We are pleased that the work we have done to produce a new application that addresses previous issues while helping meet Edinburgh’s urgent housing needs has been recognised, and very much hope the application receives the support of the committee.”