Councillor demands Planning Bill that ‘puts communities first’ amidst Edinburgh overdevelopment prot

Local campaigners argue new Edinburgh student development could be “dangerous”

  • Residents of the Dalry area of Edinburgh launch campaign to oppose new student development, arguing it will lack sufficient access for emergency vehicles

  • Local Common Weal group expands campaign against overdevelopment

  • Independent councillor Ashley Graczyk calls for a Planning Bill to “prioritise the needs of local people over big business”

RESIDENTS of the Dalry area of Edinburgh have launched a campaign to oppose a new student development after voicing concerns that the proposed building could be dangerously oversized, potentially restricting access to emergency vehicles.

Worries have also been expressed that the planned development is “dramatically out of kilter” with the local surroundings, which are characterised by a historical style of architecture, and would seriously reduce levels of sunlight for the development’s surrounding neighbours.

With 96 local objections logged to the scheme during its consultation period, residents of Richmond Terrace – where the proposed compact site would be constructed, housing 38 students – have been joined by Ashley Graczyk, independent councillor for the Sighthill-Gorgie ward, and the Edinburgh South-West branch of Common Weal.

This follows efforts by Graczyk and Edinburgh Common Weal activists to oppose earlier plans for a much larger student development on Gorgie Road, as well as a potential housing development on Leven Street.

Both applications were submitted by Scotmid, and attracted controversy when it was uncovered by the Edinburgh Evening News that members of Scotmid staff from stores across Edinburgh had submitted letters of support for their own scheme.

Richmond Terrace resident Stephen Fox explained neighbours’ concerns over the latest plans, saying: “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 4-storey development of 28 studios is far too large.

“It will disrupt the lives of the adjacent neighbours and put additional pressure on local amenities and services. There was a recently a fire in the Colony houses (in Atholl Terrace) where the 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.”

Immediate 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.”

Following the urging of campaigners at a local meeting on the evening of 6 May, the Gorgie Dalry Community Council have lodged an official objection to the Richmond Terrace planning proposal. The determination date is 10 May.

Published in the CommonSpace | 7th May 2019