Controversial five-storey student housing block set to go ahead

Plans to demolish former garages on Arthur Street will go before councillors on Wednesday.

Controversial five-storey student housing block on Edinburgh’s Leith Walk set to go ahead LDRS

A bid to build a new Edinburgh student accommodation block near Leith walk is set to get the go ahead.

Plans to demolish former garages on Arthur Street will go before councillors on Wednesday, June 7, and have been recommended for approval.

Planners said the proposed five-storey building was “well-designed” with sustainable building materials and proposals would help to meet 20-minute neighbourhood objectives, whilst being close to key transport links.

But not all locally have supported the development, with two Leith-based community councils objecting to the plans lodged by CA.

Overall there were 39 objections and 31 letters of support sent to the council in advance of a final decision being made this week.

The site was granted planning permission for 33 residential flats in 2021 however the project never came to fruition.

The brick workshop now set to be bulldozed to make way for student flats was previously a car repair workshop and was then occupied by an artists charity but the organisation has since vacated the premises.

Plans state: “The existing brick-built warehouse is split into three separate properties with a corrugated roof structure spanning them all. The garage structure is a single storey abutment with a felted flat roof.

“These structures offer little to no architectural merit and are incongruous to the wider conservation area which delivers a more residential aesthetic.

“A new community garden is proposed which will be publicly accessible and offers a significant enhancement from the previously consented scheme in the attempt to attain quality place-making. In addition to the community garden, the scheme will provide the building users with generous high quality social spaces as part of their living experience.”

An objection from Leith Central Community Council said the block “would fail to preserve land use and patterns of social and economic activity” and added the warehouse “has shown exemplary resilience by adapting to the needs of the community”.

They said: “The application has not demonstrated that it is not adversely affecting any part of the Pilrig historic environment or that it has been informed by an inclusive understanding of its breadth and cultural significance.”

Another local objector said the student accommodation “would create an over-dense development within an area that is primarily residential”.

However supporting statements argued the “car-free development” encourage active travel and praised “efficient use of derelict brownfield land”.

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