Edinburgh Council Approves Plans for Six-Storey Block of Student Flats

Councillors have given proposals to knock down derelict buildings in Dalry and build a block of student flats the thumbs up.

Plans to knock down a former Masonic hall and wire works to make way for a six-storey block of student flats have been approved by councillors.

The proposals by Maven Property, to demolish the vacant buildings on Murieston Crescent, will lead to accommodation for 120 students being built. No car parking will be provided as part of the scheme.

The accommodation will be made up of 102 en-suite studios, three cluster apartments with four bedrooms for sharing and six accessible studios. The cluster apartments will comprise four en-suite bedrooms centred on a kitchen, dining and living room area.

The block will have a management team on site daily, with student wardens appointed to provide support out of hours. CCTV will be in operation across all the communal areas. A total of 120 cycle parking spaces will be provided within a two-tier storage system.

Planning officials had recommended that Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee grant planning permission for the proposals.

The application was almost put on hold after concerns raised by ward Cllr Denis Dixon that a report drawn up by planning officers was “inaccurate” relating to the number of objections and the stance of a community council. But officials confirmed that Cllr Dixon was referring to a previous application and stated that the community council had written to the authority, pledging its support for the scheme.

Cllr Dixon also raised concerns about parking and the potential to use the roof-space.

He said: “Murieston Crescent is a particularity bad area for us with congestion – it’s very narrow there.

“On the roof of the building, there’s no opportunity for that to opened up is there?”

But officials reassured Cllr Dixon that the sloping mansard-style roof could not be used for another purpose.

Planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, welcomed the proposals but pointed to potential changes in student housing rules that could be included in the forthcoming new local development plan. Proposals include requiring student housing developments over a certain size to include a proportion of housing and the student accommodation to be easily adaptable to residential housing in the future.

He said: “Murieston Crescent is a hidden gem in the Gorgie-Dalry area with an excellent square in the middle.

“The building has been derelict for 10 or 15 years and it’s somewhat of an eyesore. We have to deal with the current guidance as it stands.”

Following the decision, local ward Cllr Ashley Graczyk criticised the decision to approve planning permission.

She said: “Gorgie has excessive student developments and zero proposals for standard tenements that would be accessible for all, but apparently, more student development is the answer.

“Once again, there are zero community benefits for Gorgie and high rent will continue to rise.”

Published in Edinburgh News | 22nd January 2020