Grosvenor submits plans for next stage of Fountainbridge development



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A planning application for Scotland’s first purpose-built, large-scale private rental residential development has been submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council by developers Grosvenor.

The private rented sector’s build-to-rent model will see Grosvenor develop, own and manage up to 400 new homes at Springside, Fountainbridge, a former industrial area close to the city centre and one of the Council’s ‘Edinburgh 12’ priority development areas.

In addition to up to 400 new homes, the application proposes a new public square and commercial and retail space. Residents of the new homes will also benefit from community spaces on the rooftop and in the entrance lobbies.

The build-to-rent model is increasingly seen as a way to help alleviate the housing shortage. With rental occupation typically much quicker than for-sale development, developers are able to build more homes and bring them to the market sooner.

Grosvenor’s application marks the next phase of development at Springside, which already comprises 250 homes, including homes for sale, affordable homes for the ‘frail and elderly,’ serviced apartments and two student residences providing accommodation for over 600 students. Grosvenor decided to hold back 46 of the homes and rent them out to test the Edinburgh market.

The experience has shown that there is demand for high quality, professionally managed rental accommodation in Edinburgh from a diverse range of people, including those moving to Edinburgh for the first time, residents saving for a mortgage, or people who prefer to live in well managed and well located accommodation over the additional obligations that home ownership entails.

Following six months of public consultations with the local Fountainbridge community, David Yaldron, director of city centre developments at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, says he is confident that there is a real appetite for build-to-rent in Edinburgh.

He said: “Our objective at Grosvenor is to create great places where people want to live, work and visit, and the local residents made it clear to us that they want the same thing for Fountainbridge. This is an exciting time for Fountainbridge and we are committed to supporting the regeneration of the wider area for the long-term. Our proposals aim to provide homes, public spaces and amenities that will help the community grow and establish the neighbourhood as one of the best places to live in Edinburgh.

“I believe that the provision of build-to-rent homes in Fountainbridge will help create a mixed and vibrant community. It also gives residents confidence that these will be high-quality, professionally managed homes, with a level of service and security not currently associated with the private rental market.”

Grosvenor has been involved in the evolution of Fountainbridge for nearly 10 years and worked closely with local groups to support regeneration in the area since 2011. It has established a community garden on vacant land at the Springside site and involved residents, school pupils and students in creating visual images for the site’s hoardings.

If planning consent is given, Grosvenor will carry out construction in phases over the next five years, with work on an initial 141 homes starting in 2016.