Edinburgh Councillor Opposes Plans to Build Student Flats in Gorgie

An Edinburgh City Council councillor has given support to a Living Rent campaign opposing proposals for a new student residence on the site of the old Tynecastle High in Gorgie, saying plans fail to follow council’s own guidelines.

The proposal, from developers Tynecastle Teague, is to build accommodation to house 545 students on the site of the old Tynecastle High on McLeod Street. The development will also feature community space and a landscaped courtyard.

Councillor Ashley Graczyk said the proposal fails to comply with the council’s own guidance that student developments on sites of over 0.25 hectares should include a minimum of 50 per cent residential floorspace. The old Tynecastle High site is 1.6 hectares.

Ms Graczyk said: “This proposal is completely inappropriate and ignores Edinburgh Council’s planning policy on the provision of residential accommodation on very large development sites. I am surprised to see a developer submitting a proposal in such flagrant breach of local priorities to create affordable housing.

“We are reaching saturation point with purpose-built student accommodation units here in Gorgie-Dalry. Many of my constituents are angry that hundreds of student units are being built and scarcely any affordable homes. It is essential that this site, at a massive 1.6 hectares, includes a substantial residential component to provide the homes we need in our community.

“Students do not pay Council Tax, so any increased population will put a strain on essential services in the local area such as bin collections and health services without the corresponding increase in revenue. These services are already very stretched and we have constant complaints about dumped items and overflowing bins.

“I am confident that my fellow councillors will reject this proposal out of hand. We need affordable homes, not student megablocks.”

The campaign opposing the student flats is being led by Living Rent’s Gorgie-Dalry branch, who have gathered more than 50 objections to the proposals to date.

The Gorgie-Dalry branch chairperson Avril Cuthbert said: “We are in the middle of a housing crisis in Scotland. Overcrowded, high density purpose-built student accommodation created a public health crisis this past year. We need genuinely affordable homes for students and the wider community.

Edinburgh City Council has been contacted for comment.

Published in the Edinburgh News | 30th September 2021