Cala Homes to buy old Boroughmuir High School site
The old Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh is to be turned into major residential block with around 100 apartments after councillors decided to sell the site to Cala Homes.
The developer’s £14.5 million bid to transform the historic high school was approved by 11 votes to two and ends hopes of a community bid turn it into an arts hub.
The decision was made at the City of Edinburgh Council’s finance and resources committee on Wednesday.
Councillors have also backed plans to plough proceeds into schools and elderly care, with developments such as a proposed new south Edinburgh primary set to benefit.
Pupils and staff at Boroughmuir High are preparing to move to a £35m campus on the former Fountain Brewery grounds next year.
A total of 20 bids had been made to the council for the site in the Viewforth area of the city.
It will become vacant once the high school moves to its new site in August 2016.
Community group Out of the Blue bid £6.2m for the site in the hope they could open a new arts hub in the school featuring studios, performance areas and workshops.
Architect Malcolm Fraser was among those who backed the community group’s plans.
Out of the Blue chairman John Molleson said they were disappointed but not surprised following the vote.
He said: “It was just an extraordinarily exciting opportunity to provide a creative hub that would support Edinburgh’s exponential growth the creative industries.
“It’s probably the biggest building the council will ever sell and it’s the biggest opportunity we’ve had to support this kind of enterprise.”
However, the vote in favour of Cala’s bid has been welcomed as it provided more money for the council.
Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “Decisions like these are always difficult but I’m pleased we are committed to ploughing additional funding into schools and education, and care for the elderly.”
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, finance chief, added: “Everyone has a lot of sympathy for the community bid but at the end of the day, this comes down to how much money we can get to invest in our high priority areas – education, for example.”