Hearing to be held into Tynecastle student residential development
The planning application for a new student residential development at the former Tynecastle High School site is set to go to a City of Edinburgh Council hearing on Wednesday 21st September with planning officials recommending the application be granted, subject to conditions.
S1 Developments said the project will regenerate a site that has lain vacant for over a decade and fallen into a state of disrepair. The sympathetic restoration of the original Category B-listed school building, designed by John Alexander Carfrae, forms an integral part of the proposals, it added.
Development of the site is challenging due to the proximity of the neighbouring North British Distillery, Tynecastle Stadium and the Western Approach Road. The new buildings have been carefully designed to limit the impacts in terms of air quality and noise; creating a sheltered courtyard and communal amenity spaces at the heart of the site. The original school hall will be repurposed as a central amenity hub providing shared facilities including a gym, library and study spaces.
This communal approach is well suited to student living and the proposed development will far exceed amenity standards for similar student developments, having more than double the external and internal amenity space of any recently consented schemes.
An independent economic report has estimated that the student development could release the equivalent of up to 170 properties back into the housing market, which would be more appropriate for families to live in, contributing an additional £266,000 in council tax annually.
Sustainability is at the heart of the development which will be car free with heat generated entirely by air source heat pumps. The landscaping proposals increase green space across the site by more than 40%, helping to increase biodiversity within the local area.
The complete development will see an increased spend of £1.7 million Gross Value Added in local shops and create an additional 55 jobs in the city.
If planning is approved, charities LOVE Gorgie Farm and People Know How will operate community facilities on the site. The highly popular urban farm, which already works with Tynecastle High School, will operate an extensive community garden, while the latter will operate a community facility within the building.
LOVE Gorgie Farm will seek to engage children and young people in its environmental programmes through the garden, located on the western edge of the site. This will include planting beds, a shelter, storage space and greenhouses. It will allow it to enhance its role in the community and to expand the farm’s Earth School project, for example, which will stimulate interest in nature, encouraging new generations to create a brighter and more eco-friendly future.
People Know How will operate a community facility, with the option for other local community groups to use space. The charity supports children, young people and their families in Edinburgh transitioning from primary to high school; helps individuals access the digital world and assists communities to shape their areas through community consultation and empowerment.
A large number of students volunteer to work with the charity and this enables a positive relationship with students in the building to be established. Not only does this support the charity in its work, but also benefits the volunteers and engages them in the local area.
Dan Teague, director at S1 Developments, said: “At S1 Developments we develop sites to suit the location and have delivered hundreds of homes, including affordable homes across the city, most recently at The Ropeworks in Leith.
“Following our careful assessment of the Old Tynecastle High School site, we feel that student development is the most appropriate use given the severe constraints. This will not only secure the redevelopment of the school, and provide a boost to the local economy, but also serve to free up the equivalent of 170 homes which are more appropriate for families.
“The original school building has fallen into a sorry state since it ceased being a school over a decade ago. Whilst the redevelopment is challenging, we are hopeful that the proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, benefitting the local community.”
Lynn Black, CEO of LOVE Learning, operators of LOVE Gorgie Farm, said: ‘“There is no doubt that should planning permission be granted, the new community garden will greatly enhance LOVE Gorgie Farm and our ability to deliver environmental programmes and help tackle food poverty.
“The garden will complement superbly what we do at the farm in the terms of educating children and young people on nature, food production and the delivery of an eco-friendly future, maximising its use as a therapeutic resource.”
Glenn Liddall, chief executive of People Know How, added: m“The delivery of this development will allow us to increase our activity with the local community. While we will be operating it, we are also keen that other local groups and organisations be able to make use of it.
“As a large number of students routinely work with us by way of volunteering, internships and placements, this is a win-win for us, and also engages them in the local community.”
Local Sighthill/Gorgie councillor, Catherine Fullerton, said: “The school has lain moribund for far too many years and is an appropriate site for such a development. It will bring community benefits too through the delivery of community space for charity People Know How and a garden managed by LOVE Gorgie Farm.
“There is clear evidence that the demand outweighs supply of student accommodation in Edinburgh, and this site has excellent travel routes to the various colleges and universities in the capital.
“In addition, and importantly, the development will boost the local economy in Gorgie and Dalry which is of great importance to me, having lived in both these areas and shop there regularly.
“I am also pleased that much of the original building/facades will be restored as a reminder of the old school which served the community well.”
S1 Developments has recently achieved planning approval for the nearby former CTD Tiles warehouse site on Temple Park Crescent. Work has recently started on site to deliver 46 apartments, including 11 affordable homes in association with Link Group.
The final phase of The Ropeworks development in Leith (delivered by S1 Developments in collaboration with Teague Homes UK) had been sold. The development, which includes 318 private residential units and 350 affordable mid-market rent units, was launched in 2017 and has established a thriving new community on a formerly derelict industrial site.