Leith Walk planning refusal to be appealed

Drum Property Group has appealed a decision to reject its plans to knock down a prominent part of Leith Walk to make way for student housing and a hotel.

Leith Walk planning refusal to be appealed

The developer’s £50 million mixed-used transformation included the removal of the red sandstone buildings and industrial units at Stead’s Place. In its place would have arose a five storey facility compromising 471 student room accommodation, 56 bedroom hotel, 53 affordable flats, a café as well as business and retail units.

However the plans were unanimously rejected by councillors in January, despite having been recommended for approval by City of Edinburgh Council planners.

The company has now lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government.

Graeme Bone, group managing director of Drum, said: “We remain wholly committed to developing the site and have always viewed the council’s decision as another step in what will be a long process.

“Since purchasing the site, we have worked hard to respond to the council’s own brief to bring new investment and development to this neglected part of Leith Walk. We submitted an innovative and high-quality proposal shaped by extensive consultation with local people, groups and businesses. We received high levels of public support and our application was recommended for approval by the council’s own planning team.

“We therefore regard it as a natural and logical next step to submit an appeal to the Scottish Government.”

Councillors said the plans failed to meet more than half a dozen planning policies, and were unconvinced that developers have done enough to try and retain the sandstone building.

Concerns were also raised about the mix of housing and student accommodation.

Campaign group Save Leith Walk fought against the application, going as far as to publish alternative proposals for the Leith Walk site.

A spokesperson for Save Leith Walk said: “We are very surprised that Drum Property continue to pursue its attempt to demolish this valuable building and rob Leith of much-needed businesses and jobs. We know how disappointed people across Edinburgh will be. The developers have consistently ignored the views and aspirations of local people and their elected representatives from all political parties.

“Historic Environment Scotland recognise the building’s value. The Cockburn Association recognise its worth. Edinburgh Council Planning Committee recognise its worth. We fully expect the Scottish Reporter to also recognise the worth of this building.”

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