Plans to Redevelop a Church in Edinburgh Deemed 'Ill-Fitting'

Posted by Ross Jones-Morris in

A 'left-field' application, submitted to Edinburgh City Council this week, is being met with widespread hosility, but the developer behind it contends that such criticism is premature.

After St Paul's Catcholic Church was badly damaged by fire in 2014 its fate was uncertain, but this week EMA Archiecture and Design (representing developer Robert Mackenzie) tabled plans that propose to demolish the building and turn it into student flats.

The flats would be distributed across three blocks, each just a 12-minute walk from Edinburgh College. The site is also close to bus links to Edinburgh University.

However, the site is inside a district that is currently under redevelopment as it is. The transformation of the area is currently happening in stages, where 700 affordable new homes are being built. Many local residents therefore feel that introducing a student development would not be in keeping, as the land (they contend) was and should still be ear-marked for social housing.

Further to this Muirhouse Salveson community council chairman Roy Douglas added "we are quite alarmed that the developer has come in and said this is going to happen. There is already student accommodation for the college campus and those units are never full."

The developer Mr Mackenzie has said that he is happy to speak to the community while he awaits council feedback on his plans. He has also defended the proposals saying "I spoke to Edinburgh College and they said there is a shortage in the area. A report was also done by the council last year that identified a shortage of purpose-built places. It's a 12-minute walk to Edinburgh College, and it's very close to Ferry Road, so you could catch buses to the Bridges and go to Edinburgh University."

"We will be managing it as a family business and it will be managed locally. There would be a warden system for each block. It will be run with care and respect."

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons