Former Leith bingo hall to be redeveloped into PBSA homes

Members of the public are being invited to offer feedback on plans to redevelop the Manderston Street bingo hall in Edinburgh into PBSA.

Longstone Limited has released its plans to transform the Manderston Street bingo hall into a new PBSA scheme in Leith | PBSA News
Longstone Limited has released its plans to transforn the former Manderston Street bingo hall into a new PBSA scheme in Leith.

Developer Longstone Limited has unveiled plans to conserve and redevelop the existing building at the former bingo hall on 24 Manderston Street into a new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme. This is in response to a local desire to preserve the building, located in the Leith Conservation Area, and address a chronic undersupply of student accommodation in the city.  

The proposals follow the decision by the current operators of the bingo hall, Club 3000, to move to new premises in nearby Ocean Terminal in the summer of this year.  

Following the building’s inclusion in the area, it was deemed not well-suited as a residential conversion and a viable scheme would fail to comply with many of the Council’s planning policies for new housing – such as dual aspect dwellings and minimum open space requirements. If housing were to be delivered, it would require the demolition of the building.

The proposed use as a PBSA scheme allows for the creation of a high-quality development that complies with the Council’s student housing policies, while also retaining and enhancing the elements of the building that contribute to the surrounding Conservation Area.

“The local community has expressed a strong desire to conserve the former mill building and our plans for the site allow us to do this. While enhancing the character of the Conservation Area, the conversion of the building will help to relieve pressure on the local housing market.

“The proposals will also deliver considerable economic benefits in terms of the construction and operation of the development, and with students spending money in local shops and other outlets. We are keen to welcome local residents to our public consultation event and to working with them as we progress the development.” 

Spokesperson, Longstone Limited

Currently, the existing Manderston Street building is in poor condition and is extremely energy inefficient. In 2020, Scotland’s heritage agency – Historic Environment Scotland – assessed the building for potential listed status and concluded that it did not meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest.

Developing PBSA would also serve to free up residential properties that otherwise would have been used by students, whose numbers in Edinburgh’s universities have grown by over 25% between 2016/17 and 2021/22, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Student Needs Assessment, July 2023.

A public consultation event will take place on Wednesday 17 January 2024 between 4.00pm and 7.30pm in McDonald Road Library, 2-8 McDonald Road, Edinburgh EH7 4LU. Exhibition boards detailing the project will be available at the event, as well as from the project website from 9am on the day of the event. 

Feedback forms will also be available, and attendees are encouraged to share their views. The form will also be available on the website and all feedback should be returned by Wednesday 31 January.