Flats plan approved at former Boroughmuir High School

Revised plans to transform a former Edinburgh high school into housing have been given the green light.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s development management sub-committee granted CALA Homes permission for 104 flats to be built at the former Boroughmuir High School as well as a new tenement block next to the former school in Viewforth.

Under the plans, there will be 17 affordable homes, 98 car parking spaces on the former playground and 223 cycle spaces.

A ‘community sum’ paid by the developers will mean more affordable homes will be provided at another site.

Initial plans for the tenement block, which will contain all the affordable homes, were rejected last year after which CALA reduced the block height from six to five stories and from 20 to 17 flats.

Councillor Hal Osler was “deeply concerned” over the affordable housing proposals, which only include one and two-bedroom properties. But Cllr Joanna Mowat said the developers had responded to the initial proposals being rejected.

She added: “The previous application did provide the affordable housing on site but was rejected because of the impact. That’s why we don’t have all the affordable housing on site.”

Cllr Chas Booth said the affordable housing block “isn’t exactly bonnie” while Cllr Denis Dixon added that it “doesn’t enhance the area”.

The development will create 87 split-level apartments in the former school classroom block.

Gavin Pope, land director of CALA Homes (East), said: “We’re extremely pleased that the careful process of community consultation and close work with planning officers has come to fruition.

“We appreciate that no development will be universally popular, however, this design solution represents the outcome of a lot of hard work to update our proposal in line with responses to our planning application.”

Melanie Main, councillor for Morningside, wanted CALA to provide more on-site affordable housing as part of the scheme.

She said: “I am disappointed to see that the opportunity to provide more affordable housing in the area has not been taken.

“The council needs to have really firm policies on how much affordable housing is needed and how it should be provided in an integrated way and it needs to be prepared to stick to those policies.

“So I think the developer could, and should, have been pushed harder on affordable housing and I am grateful to those members of the committee who made that case.”