Revised proposals to redevelop a former city school into housing has been recommended for approval by council officers – but a row has emerged over affordable homes. CALA Homes’ plans to transform the former Boroughmuir High School on Viewforth into more than 100 homes have been given the thumbs up by planning officers ahead of Wednesday’s Development Management Sub-Committee.
In April last year, planning permission was refused for the change of use and conversion of the school into homes – while unusually, listed building consent was approved.
The developers appealed the decision, but it was dismissed over worries regarding the design of the affordable housing block. The new proposals would see 104 residential units made available, along with 98 car parking spaces and 223 cycle spaces.
Gavin Pope, land director at CALA Homes East, said: “Our approach to redeveloping Boroughmuir High School would create much needed homes in the city while ensuring one of its most distinctive buildings is preserved. “Plans centre on completely restoring the school house building with new apartments occupying former classrooms while a bright, open courtyard provides bridged access throughout the building.
“At this stage we thank the local community and key stakeholders for their feedback throughout the process which helped us refine our plans for the development.”
If approved, classrooms would be converted into 87 flats, while a new residential block would be built on the site – along with parking, landscaping and bin storage. The new block would be five stories high and contain nine residential properties.
Developers want to demolish three existing outbuildings. Changes to the main school building would include building a metal walkways within the existing courtyards for access, to extend the height of some windows on the front and rear elevations and to reinstate windows following the demolition of the outbuilding.
A local councillor has raised concerns that only 17 affordable homes will be included in the scheme, with the city pledging to build 10,00 affordable homes over the next 10 years.
Green ward Cllr Melanie Main said: “Edinburgh is desperately short of genuinely affordable housing. The minimum required at Broughmuir is 26. But only 17 homes are to be provided and it’s not clear if they are to be social housing, which is what the city really needs.
Developers need to step up to the mark and commit to building their share of the affordable housing. The affordable homes will be made up of 12 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom flats, which will have access to 11 parking spaces.
These homes would be delivered by Link Housing Association. As part of the plans, five trees would be removed from the site.