Chesser urban quarter proposals to go on display

A public consultation is set to begin into plans for a major new residential development at Chesser in Edinburgh.

Chesser urban quarter proposals to go on display

A sketch of Market Square

Announced last month by Watkin Jones Group, the proposed mixed-use brownfield development to the rear of the Corn Exchange will comprise primarily of build-to-rent (BTR) homes, including affordable homes, which will make up approximately 75% of the floorspace. In addition to this will be managed student homes, forming a mixed-tenure urban residential village. This forms part of an overall regeneration of the brownfield site.

Under Covid-guidance, the public will have the opportunity to view development proposals on the New Mart website with the opportunity to ask the development team questions and provide feedback at an online consultation event on October 14 between 4pm and 8pm. A live presentation will be made by the team of the proposals at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm. The details for joining these presentations will be provided on the website.

The former auction mart buildings and livestock sheds are now over 120 years old and in need of constant maintenance, repair and upgrade which has become a completely uneconomical proposition for current occupiers, the World of Football and World of Bowling

Chesser urban quarter proposals to go on display

A proposed view from Asda Road

To bring the buildings up to standard would be an unsustainable burden and cost for any organisation and the preference is to build new sustainable, environmentally friendly facilities rather than maintain what is becoming an impossible task. 

Completing the work in 2025, should planning permission be given, the regeneration of this brownfield site will seek to retain the character and elements of the buildings. This will ensure their long-term viable future, all of which is considered in the creation of community spaces and public realm within the proposed scheme.

Iain Smith, planning director for Watkin Jones, said: “We’re thrilled to be providing the public with the opportunity to view our exciting scheme for this new urban quarter at Chesser. The site is in a highly sustainable location with excellent access to amenities and transport links and will be built to future-proofed high environmental standards.”

Chesser urban quarter proposals to go on display

He added: “We are aware of the financial burden bringing the current dated facilities up to standard will be and that it is an uneconomical position for the current owners.

“Our intention is to retain the character of the buildings where we can, ensuring their long-term viable future. These proposals will greatly assist in the regeneration of this part of the city. This consultation event is part of a process of extensive engagement to ensure that people from across the local area have an opportunity to input their views and shape our ambitious proposals.”

The development is proposed as a car-free scheme with parking limited to accessible parking only and maximising the good quality public transport and active travel links to the site. Each of the key areas of public realm and open space will be given an identity as part of the overall masterplan, reflecting the history of the site, including a large central public square.

It is envisaged that the public square will be used by performing arts groups; farmers markets; leisure square gatherings and as an urban gathering space for residents.

Chesser urban quarter proposals to go on display

Watkin Jones Group has undertaken major BTR schemes throughout the UK, completing its first purpose-built scheme in Leeds in 2016.

It has extensive experience of working in Edinburgh, investing extensively in the city over the last 10 years. Over the period it has developed a total of ten purpose-built student accommodation schemes, equating to 2,861 student homes.

A notable example is the award-winning Sugarhouse Close development, which was completed in the summer of 2012. The development is accessed from the Royal Mile and located within the World Heritage Site, demonstrating that the Group have first-hand experience delivering a high-quality scheme in a historically sensitive location.

Watkin Jones Group is also currently progressing a mixed tenure residential development at Iona Street in Edinburgh, for which planning permission was granted in March of this year. This development comprises over 200 managed student homes, 60 residential apartments and 20 affordable homes and will be completed in 2023. In addition, the Group is delivering 645 managed student homes on Westfield Road and Gorgie Road which will be completing in 2022.

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