An Edinburgh resident’s bid to squeeze a newly built one-bedroom house between two historic tenements is dividing opinion.
There have been 21 objections and 25 letters of support over the application to sandwich a small two-storey home in a gap site between 6 and 7 Bangholm Terrace in Inverleith.
It has been branded as “overdevelopment” in a conservation area by city planners. And they have urged members of the development management sub-committee to reject the proposals when they meet to issue a decision on Wednesday.
Jennifer Reynolds, who is behind the bid, has lived in one of the flats at 6 Bangholm Terrace next to the gap site “for many years”, according to plans lodged with the council.
Ms Reynolds hopes to create “an affordable and sustainable home” within walking distance of a local business which she has set-up in Canonmills, it was stated in the plans submitted last year.
Her plan is to demolish the wall and disused garage in her garden – the 69sqm plot between the two tenement gables – to make way for the new property.
She urged council officers to see this as “a positive contribution to the street” and “an exemplar of contemporary architecture in a more traditional setting”.
Furthermore, Ms Reynolds argued having a gap between two tenements in Edinburgh is “very unusual” and “an anomaly”, adding that the new house “may well be an anomaly, but it will be, carefully crafted and respectful”.
“The previous occupant of No 6 did not use the area of ground and laterally it became overgrown and unkempt, a situation the applicant has since to some extent rectified.
“This intervention does not detract from, or diminish the significance of the tenements,” plans further stated.
A supporter dubbed the designs “innovative and inspired”, whilst another called it “a sustainable addition to housing in Edinburgh”.
Several letters backing the bid praised the applicant for trying to develop a vacant brownfield land in the city amid housing shortages.
But local community group The Inverleith Society filed an objection to the plans, writing: “Whilst we appreciate it is uncommon for there to be gaps between tenement buildings, the fact these gable ends have been finished in a more expensive stone than would usually be used, say, on the rear of the building and the fact that windows and gable wall head chimneys are incorporated, it does suggest it was fully intended to be this way.
“We believe the original sentiment of style should be preserved in a conservation area.”
Some neighbours also raised concerns about the appearance of the new build and its potential impact on those living in the flats nearby.
A resident at 5 Bangholm Terrace said the proposed new structure will “significantly reduce the sunlight and daylight coming into the garden”, with others concerned about issues such as parking and drainage.
Planning officers concluded the proposal “will not preserve or enhance” the Inverleith Conservation Area and “will not protect or enhance the historic environment”.
They said it is “clear” the gap between tenements “was an intentional part of the original street design” and that a development on the site will appear “squeezed”.
“It will read as overdevelopment of what should remain a small side garden,” they added.