Plans for 400 Gorgie student flats set to be refused by Edinburgh Council

PROPOSALS to build almost 400 student flats in Gorgie are set to be rejected -despite winning the support of local councillors and community campaigners.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 11:51 am
Proposals to build almost 400 student flats in Gorgie

Harrison Developments wants to build the seven-storey accommodation at Westfield Road – replacing a former furniture store, vacant old office building and car park. But officials have recommended that the city council’s development management sub-committee refuse planning permission when councillors determine the application on Wednesday.

The application proposes to demolish the existing single storey furniture showroom and replacing it with a purpose-built student accommodation with landscaping and infrastructure on the site.

The 394 student bedrooms will be made up of shared flats ranging from six to 10 bed spaces and self-contained studio accommodation. Study spaces, common areas, a games room and a gym are also proposed for the development.

Yvonne Weighland Lyle from Gorgie Collective, Steve McManaman, project manager for Harrison, Mario Alberto Gonzalez Robert (artist) and Anggi Wulan from Gorgie Collective

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The developers are proposing to install 360 indoor secure cycle parking spaces and 40 external spaces in covered facility. The scheme received 24 objections form members of the public and five letters of support.

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Cllr Cathy Fullerton and Cllr Donald Wilson, who both represent the Sighthill-Gorgie ward, are backing the scheme, as well as local arts, crafts and cultural community group, Gorgie Collective.

Cllr Fullerton said: “This is an ideal location for a student development, especially given the low amount of student accommodation in the area and the council’s stated wider aim to disperse purpose-built student accommodation throughout the city.

“The development will also serve to free up housing as these students will be housed in bespoke managed accommodation, not in general housing stock. It will also continue the welcome regeneration of the area by introducing new economically and socially active people into the locality.”

Part of the scheme will see the delivery of a community room, which came following discussions between the applicant and arts, crafts and cultural community group, Gorgie Collective.

Katriona Gillespie from Gorgie Collective said: “Gorgie Collective is happy to be working with Harrison on this community-focused development.

Harrison said using the site for housing had been considered but a 50/50 split between student and residential accommodation was ruled out due to concern over privacy issues and was “not financially viable”.

The company has estimated that around £3.6 million per year will be generated in spending by students on items such as food, clothes and eating out. The developers also say the expenditure is estimated to support a further 30 jobs in retail and leisure industries.