A planning application for a purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development in Edinburgh’s Canongate has been given approval following an appeal by property developers to the Scottish Government.
Summix (CGE) Developments and S Harrison have been granted permission for the partial demolition of existing buildings and the delivery of PBSA on the site that was once part of the 19th century gasworks at 179A Canongate. The planning application was initially refused by the Council in August 2022.
“We’re thrilled our application has been approved by the Scottish Government Reporter. These proposals will redevelop an unloved site in the heart of the capital and provide much-needed PBSA in a highly sustainable location, situated so close to many university buildings.
“We are pleased to see that the Reporter noted that the proposed PBSA does not result in an ‘excessive concentration’ of student accommodation in the area and will fit in with the nearby listed buildings, preserving the character and appearance of the Old Town Conservation Area.
“Our proposals are part of the wider redevelopment of this part of the city centre and will help to bring life and economic activity to the area.”David Clancy, S Harrison
The site is located opposite the Holyrood Campus of Edinburgh University and within close proximity to other university facilities and bus routes. Delivering 76 studio rooms, the scheme will target postgraduate students. The ground floor will include an open courtyard with sitting areas and planters, internal shared amenity space, two study rooms, a gym and a multimedia room. There is also cycling storage on site.
Substantial elements of the existing historic buildings are incorporated within the proposed redevelopment, along with the demolition of the more recent 20th century buildings. The retained buildings are incorporated in a design that is intended to respect the site’s historic location and the surrounding listed buildings.
New-build elements will consist of a five-storey building with a triple pitched roof on the west side, dropping down to a two-storey building with duo pitch roof on the east side, to fit the open nature of the nearby kirkyard. Historic perimeter walls will be retained, and the original workshop will be incorporated in the development.
“The proposed development utilises a brownfield site making efficient use of existing land and buildings. It supports the delivery of accessible accommodation and is appropriately located in walking distance to education facilities, local amenities and public transport. The scale, form and design respects the historic environment, and mitigation measures are incorporated to safeguard the amenity of existing and future occupiers.”Scottish Government Reporter
Reusing a current brownfield site, the building is expected to be energy efficient and will adopt a fabric-first approach. Low- and zero-carbon emitting equipment will be incorporated, including air source heat pumps, full LED lighting, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and photovoltaic panels.
“With the Reporter upholding the appeal, the delivery of high-quality student accommodation on what is a brownfield site, can be progressed.
“It will serve to address an increasing demand for student accommodation, and through this assist in moving students out of homes more appropriate for families and into well-managed accommodation.”Stuart Black, Summix (CGE) Developments