Approval was given for the King’s Stables Road development earlier today at the end of the council’s Development Management committee meeting which went on for three hours.
Councillors voted 11-3 in favour of the proposals to transform part of King’s Stables Road with what is called a ‘landmark development’ by the joint venture group behind it.
Cllr Alex Lunn said: “There are a couple of aspects that I am not so happy with. My fear would be that if we were talking about 3 and 4 bedroom houses down there then this would turn into HMO territory. I am glad that there is enough wiggle room for the developer to turn the studio flats into bigger units. I am relieved that the gates are going. It is not something I am particularly keen on.”
Cllr Joanna Mowat objected to the development and the housing mix, seconded by Councillor Nigel Bagshaw. She said: “I think the developers have come a long way, but the use is heavily weighted towards commercial. Looking at this, and speaking to the residents there are too many things where it is on a knife edge. This is a very sensitive part of town.
“These are small dark single aspect studios, and they are against everything we try to do in providing high quality housing. What would be of real value here is the courtyard which is a quiet area. The residents will not have a quiet side to their property which can make for stressful living. I think there have been welcome improvements but I still think there are too many compromises. Some of the design decisions made here are not in keeping.”
Cllr Bagshaw said that the objectors were wrong about the adverse impact of student accommodation, but agreed with Cllr Lunn that it would be an improvement that the gates are removed.
Cllr Perry the Planning Convener insisted that the question of affordable housing must come back to the committee in respect of this development.
The developer is Peveril Securities alongside Campus Development Management who propose to build student accommodation, a hotel, residential units, and a range of commercial units on the ground floor of the scheme.
The area outside the development will also be improved by using the courtyard to form new routes through the development and improvements to the setting of King’s Bridge.
There will be 59 residential units, a 92 bedroom boutique hotel, 167 student flats, an arts facility, and a range of commercial units.
This site is one of the 12 priority sites identified by the council as one of the dozen priority sites across the city which will be vital to its economic future. The site is owned by the council and has been vacant since 2009. It has been used by Hidden Door as a site for their week long arts festival in the last couple of years, and clearly that has been a good way of showing the council what could be done with the area. The developers say they want to make it a destination in its own right which will benefit the neighbouring businesses and help the council’s hopes for a new cultural quarter in this area.
Charles Vyvyan from Campus Development Management, said: “We are clearly delighted to have received the green light for our proposals.
“This is an exciting mixed use development which is proving very attractive to potential residents and occupiers alike, and will revitalise this neglected part of the City Centre.
“This part of the Grassmarket is not viewed in a particularly attractive light and our exciting proposals will breathe much-needed life into this part of the Old Town providing residential flats, a hotel, student accommodation, and facilities to accommodate and promote the arts.”
You can see all the planning information about this development here.