Printworks back in news as flats plan wins backing

Printers at work in the former Evening News plant
Printers at work in the former Evening News plant
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A MAJOR development which will see more than 100 new homes built on the site of a former printworks is set to be given the go-ahead.

City planners have recommended approval for the five-storey block of flats and commercial space in Newhaven Road.

Until the late 19th century it was the site of Stewartfield House, which was designed by renowned Capital architect Robert Mylne, whose brother, William, built North Bridge.

Initial plans for a six-storey block were scaled back after objections from residents and heritage body the Cockburn Association, which wanted it limited to five floors.

That also reduced original proposals for 130 flats to 127, with 31 set to be affordable homes.

Five ground-floor commercial units facing Newhaven Road also feature in developer Barratt Homes East of Scotland’s blueprint.

Cockburn Association director Marion Williams said: “We approve in principle to the redevelopment of this site on brownfield land, relieving pressure on the green belt.

“The replacement of the buildings previously containing the printing press could significantly improve the urban character of Newhaven Road, complementing existing tenements and more recently built apartment blocks, in particular if the suggested commercial units will prove viable and attract businesses to the area.”

She added: “To harmonise with the area, building height should be restricted to four to five storeys.”

Stewartfield House was constructed in 1743 before being demolished in 1895, with the printing plant, which produced the Evening News until 2009, being built in 1991.

Rachel Veitch, the mother of war hero General Haig, and whose father, Hugh Veitch, was once town clerk of Leith, spent her childhood at the house.

However, an archaeological assessment cleared the site for development, finding that “any remains that have survived will not offer any value beyond what has already been documented about Stewartfield House”.

Recommending approval, council head of planning John Bury said: “The proposal complies with the development plan and would preserve the setting of the nearby listed building. With the use of appropriate conditions and legal agreements, the proposals would not prejudice local residential amenity, road safety, flood risk, drainage issues and provide an acceptable design solution for the site.”

Douglas McLeod, managing director of Barratt East Scotland, said: “Barratt is one of the few house builders commencing work on much-needed new homes in Edinburgh city centre. The development is in a great location, within walking distance of the city centre. We are anticipating high demand for the development which will provide highly sought after homes for young singles and couples.”