Plans for 600 homes at Meadowbank to be pushed forward despite 'dark canyon' fears

PLANS to build around 600 new homes at Meadowbank will be officially handed over to planners in the autumn amid fears the height of the buildings could create a “dark canyon”.

By David Bol
Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 1:06 pm
Initial proposals for the Meadowbank development, Picture: Edinburgh Council
Initial proposals for the Meadowbank development, Picture: Edinburgh Council

The city council’s housing department will draw up official proposals for flats at the former Meadowbank Stadium site – including 35 per cent affordable housing, while plans for a hotel and student accommodation were previously ruled out.

The delivery strategy, to be considered by councillors on Thursday, says the Meadowbank development could be “an exemplar, highly energy efficient and sustainable development that supports the council’s aim of achieving net zero carbon by 2030”.

The report adds that the overhaul could be “well connected to the existing neighbourhoods and provides priority to cyclists and pedestrians”. Some of the blocks could be as high as eight-storeys.

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An early landscaping sketch for the Meadowbank development, Picture: Edinburgh Council

The report adds: “This reflects the need for this part of the site to enable the delivery of the sports centre by delivering a receipt to the council.”

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

“Cutting a floor from the blocks of flats at Wishaw Terrace is also to be welcomed, but the overall scale is still a problem, especially the plans for a seven-storey block on London Road which will turn the Meadowbank Terrace junction into a dark canyon, and the very real probability of parking displacement in Marionville and Piershill.

“What is driving this project is the need for receipts to fund the sports centre and the council’s housing targets, but 600 new homes is still a lot for the area to absorb considering how much development is going on in the immediate area and more needs to be done to recognise residents’ concerns.”

Cllr Kate Campbell, housing, homelessness and fair work convener, said: “The process for both developments has been led by the community who have shaped the delivery strategies that will be at committee on Thursday. They have told us what the community wants and needs, what’s important about the heritage of the area, and what their priorities are.

“They’ve told us what they really don’t want as well. We’ve listened and there will be no hotel and no student housing at Meadowbank.

“These processes have led to plans for two amazing new communities that will be beautifully designed, with good quality green spaces, sustainable, connected and with above policy levels of affordable housing at 35 per cent.”

Kevin Illingworth, representing the Save Meadowbank group, said: “While we welcome the idea of active travel, we can see a number of practical issues in trying to bar vehicles from the site. There may also be problems with overspill parking in the surrounding areas – parking permits have been suggested.

“New footpaths are also welcome. We would like these to be well lit and well designed to deter anti-social behaviour and fly tipping. We do think the plans are improving and we are keen to engage with the council and their architects at every stage of the process.”

Stables refurbishment put on hold

A delivery strategy for the former Powderhall waste transfer site could include a new nursery centre.

The site, across the road from Broughton Primary School, will see between 250 and 260 new homes built on it – with a Pre-Application Notice (PAN) expected to be submitted to planners in the autumn.

But proposals for the former stables block have stalled after a £1m funding bid to overhaul the B-listed building, which officials said is a “vital gateway” to the site, was unsuccessful.

Green ward Cllr Susan Rae said: “There is a lot to be positive about in here, including the higher-than-usual mix of housing at below market costs and the ambition to build a zero-carbon neighbourhood. While I am currently enthused and looking forward to seeing the development take shape, I will be keeping a very close eye the project as the plans become reality.

“For the stables block I have made the case there is a huge opportunity to provide affordable space for artists and other cultural or community uses. If it takes time to get the funding package together to support that vision, then I can see the case for renting the spaces out meantime, but it has to be clear that this is for the short term only.”