‘Dangerous’ Dalry student homes plan blasted for lack of fire engine access

Student housing plans have been labelled “dangerous” by campaigners over fears the proposals will hamper emergency service access.

Thursday, 9th May 2019, 9:12 pm
Dalry residents launch campaign to oppose student flats located on Richmond terrace . Pic: Stephen Fox

Residents in Dalry have launched a campaign against the creation of a housing block for 38 people on Richmond Terrace.

Neighbours believe the site will not be able to provide adequate access for fire appliances and ambulances.

If approved by the Edinburgh City Council, the proposals by NR Investments Limited will include 38 studio 
apartments with a common room, laundry facilities, open space and cycle storage.

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The proposals have received 96 objections and no letters of support.

Richmond Terrace resident Stephen Fox, said: “The proposed site is a small garage with a single access point at the end of a long and narrow cobbled street and through a restrictive pend archway. The garage is surrounded by housing on all sides and the proposed four-storey development of 28 studios is far too large.

“There was recently a fire in the Colony houses where fire engines struggled with access from Richmond Terrace and I am now very concerned about access for emergency vehicles to such a large development with so many young residents.”

Neighbour Carolyn Davis added: “There is a massive danger for fire engines and ambulances getting up the street. It’s a quiet street where everyone looks out for everyone else but 38 additional student flats will devastate the area.”

The developers recognise the potential problems for 
emergency service access in documents handed over to the city council.

Planning documents state: “Emergency vehicle access will be via the pend from Richmond Terrace. As this is a restrictive access route, fire appliances will be unable to access the courtyard outside the new building.

“A fire engineering assessment has been undertaken by Jeremy Gardner Associates. This included informal initial discussions with the SF&RS.”

It was recommended that the new building was limited to a maximum of four storeys, providing an automatic life safety sprinkler system throughout the building and ensuring the internal walls are 60-minute fire rated along with a fire fighting stair and lift.

The campaigners are rallying  against over-development in the Dalry and Gorgie area. The residents, along with Common Weal Edinburgh South West, are targeting three sites including a larger student development on Gorgie Road and a tabled housing development on Leven Street.

Independent Councillor for Sighthill-Gorgie Cllr Ashley Graczyk claims the views of local residents being routinely ignored by “selfish” developers seeking new projects.

She said: “I am fed up of unsuitable planning proposals from selfish developers who are looking for any excuse to put profit before people, attempting to get out of paying developers’ contributions and causing unnecessary distress to my constituents. Planning proposals must prioritise the needs of local people over big business.”