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

The development of a 198-bed student accommodation project on London Road has been granted planning permission by City of Edinburgh Council.

Situated opposite Meadowbank Stadium, this mixed-use building will be a contemporary state of the art development comprising a mix of clusters and studios together with a community/office space, student common areas, a laundry, cycle parking and underground bin stores.

On completion, Edinburgh based charity People Know How will locate their headquarters on the ground floor of the building, 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.

A large number of students volunteer to work with the charity and this enables a positive relationship with students in the building to be established, supporting it in its work, which will also benefit them and engage them in the local area.

A high focus on cycling is a key part of the proposal, with one to one cycling storage provided on-site in a covered and secure location totalling 198 bicycle spaces. There will also be Sheffield racks available for visitors and staff, giving a total of 208 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

The development will deliver an estimated £15 million of investment in its construction and will also bring significant vitality, economic and social benefits to this part of Meadowbank, estimated to generate 85 jobs through the construction period.

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.

This increasing demand from students for accommodation in the city places pressure on the local private rented market, with full-time student numbers across Edinburgh projected to rise by 14 per cent to 2021/2022. 

It has also been estimated that the students from this development will generate c. £1.8 million in additional expenditure on items such as food, clothes and eating out. This expenditure has the capacity to support a further 15 jobs in the retail, leisure and transport sectors in Edinburgh and the wider regional economy. 

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

A spokesperson for developer Summix Capital Ltd 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 location in previous commercial and industrial use.

“Positive interaction with the community during the design and planning process informed the scheme’s final form and successful engagement with Council officers has enabled the project to evolve into a successful and sustainable scheme.

“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 over the last few months on this we were pleased to see this scheme gain planning approval, allowing us to take up occupancy and serve the local community, enabling us to grow.

“We have been greatly impressed with the positive engagement undertaken on this with the local community.

“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.”

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