Green light for student-led residential development on London Road, Edinburgh

An application for planning permission for the development of high-quality student accommodation on London Road has been approved by City of Edinburgh Council at committee yesterday (16th December).

Located at London Road, the 76-bed development, is being undertaken by developer, HG Developments. This is a second phase development of the neighbouring student accommodation at 61-63 London Road, also being undertaken by HG Developments. This incorporates the vacant land, presenting a continuation of regeneration along the London Road corridor.

Situated opposite Meadowbank Stadium, the contemporary state of the art development will replace the existing car wash and will see the delivery of a six-storey block, predominantly in brick, bringing a strong architectural element to the corner site.

The planning application was progressed after the site was re-marketed when a previous residential development consent for the scheme could not be progressed due it not being possible to build over a sewer present on the site.

On completion, Edinburgh based charity People Know How will locate their headquarters on the ground floor of 61-63 London Road, closer to the communities in which they operate.

The charity supports children, young people and their families in north-east Edinburgh transition from primary to high school; helps individuals access the digital world and assists communities to shape their areas through community consultation and empowerment.

The site is not within a Conservation Area or within the boundary of the UNESCO World Heritage site and is in an area within which there is a considerable volume of mixed-use development proposed, complementing the established residential areas nearby.

It is located on London Road, a major thoroughfare in the city boasting a high frequency of bus routes, including buses that directly serve university and college campuses and facilities.

Given the high sustainability of the location, only four parking spaces will be delivered, two accessible spaces and two to accommodate cars for the for the City Car Club, now known as Enterprise Car Club.

A high focus on cycling is a key part of the proposal, with capacity for 198 bicycle spaces. There will also be Sheffield racks available for visitors and staff, giving a total of 210 bicycle spaces.

Energy efficient design will enhance the sustainability of the development, and water consuming systems will offer considerable reductions in water use compared to baseline technologies, including low flush toilets and low flow taps and showers

In addition, the proposal will help to address the increasing demand for student accommodation in the city. Edinburgh’s leading universities and colleges are a key driver of the capital’s economy and civic life, and student bed provision in Edinburgh remains below average compared with competing student cities across the UK.

Architects 3DReid worked on the scheme and the planning consultants were Turley.

A spokesperson for HG Developments commented:

“We are delighted to have received approval of our application at committee today. This high-quality student accommodation proposal will serve to redevelop a brownfield site in previous commercial use.

“Given the high sustainability of the location there is no requirement for car parking spaces beyond those for the City Car club and disabled spaces, and we are ensuring that there is excellent provision of bicycle spaces.

“The development also serves to address the increasing demand for student accommodation, fulfilling the ambitious growth plans of universities in the city, which are key drivers of the economy. This also helps to reduce pressure on the private housing market as well as delivering a substantial amount in additional expenditure into the local economy.”

Glenn Liddall, Chief Executive of People Know How commented:

“Having worked closely with the developer we were pleased to see this scheme, which acts as an extension to the neighbouring building which is now under construction, gaining planning approval. We are locating our headquarters here, allowing us to serve the local community and enabling us to grow.

“As a large number of students routinely work with us by way of volunteering, internships and placements we are in the enviable position of being able to establish a positive relationship with students in the building, who can support us in our work, which will also benefit them; and engage them in the local area.”

Ruta Turcinaviciute, Project Designer for 3DReid commented:

“The proposed scheme marks an important moment for the future redevelopment of a constrained and complicated site, which will benefit the urban quality of London Road and represent a further contribution to the ongoing regeneration of the wider area.

“The proposed building seeks to address the prominent corner of the site, to its eastern approach, while the material and language of the building follows the emerging palette of the new developments currently proposed in the area, in addition to responding to the tones of the more historic tenements that form the wider context.”