Mixed-residential development approved at Leith Walk
The City of Edinburgh Council has given the green light for a mixed-residential development on the site of a former Leith Walk tramway depot following a narrow vote by councillors.
The approved bid will see a large warehouse situated on the plot between Leith Walk and Halmrye Street, to the east of 139 Leith Walk, demolished and replaced with a six-storey block to house 230 students, with three commercial units on the ground floor.
In addition, there will be two five-storey blocks, one with 27 affordable flats and the other with 27 build-to-rent flats.
The plans were prepared by Manson Architects on behalf of CW Properties, Cambay and CA Ventures.
A statement submitted by Manson with the application added: “Our design goal has been to create a series of characterful geometric forms, heights and shapes. One of the key drivers in this aspect was to create a dynamic skyline found in the central part of the site; this form projects above the Thorntree Street datum in order to definitively create a central focus to the site.
“Our aim has been to create well-proportioned and varied built forms for the individual buildings in our proposal. Individually they each have their own character but they visually merge together as one in the overall masterplan design ethos.”
More than 170 objections to the plans were received and just one letter of support, with concerns raised about a failure to address a local social housing shortage.
Objectors also argued that the proposals were “at odds” with the Halmyre Street Place Brief, a council document drawn up to shape the future development of the site.
Leith Central Community Council were among the groups to oppose the development going ahead.
John Wilkinson said: “The proposal to build 230 student beds and only 27 affordable flats plus 27 build-to-rent flats fundamentally misinterprets the Halmyre Place Brief which emphasises the need in Leith for environmentally sustainable, social and affordable housing rather than student accommodations.
“The Edinburgh Urban Design Panel has expressed strong concerns since the early stage of the proposal with respect to the proposed level of student accommodation, general land use, layout, height, materials and security.”
The application was supported by six votes to five by members of the planning sub-committee.