Former Tynecastle High School

Posted on: October 1, 2021

Our submission to planning on this significant development at Tynecastle.

Address: Former Tynecastle High School 17 Mcleod Street Edinburgh EH11 2NJ

Proposal:  Partial demolition, change of use and new build to form student residential development and community facilities with associated infrastructure, landscaping and access.

Reference No: 21/04469/FUL

Closing date for comments: 1/10/2021

Determination date: 31/10/2021

Result: Pending

Cockburn Response

This is a significant, well-connected yet potentially challenging site in relation to its location next to a distillery, stadium, and the Western Approach Road. In particular, the proximity of the distillery and road raises substantial design questions regarding the site’s environmental quality, safety and amenity for future residents. However, the successful redevelopment of this site would bring it back into active use and contribute to the neighbouring community.

Given that this is not a straightforward site to develop, we understand why its repurposing as student accommodation is considered both a viable and desirable option. If this application is approved, it should be considered the upper limit of what the local residential area can tolerate without seriously undermining its social fabric and cohesion. No further student accommodation proposals should be considered in this community.

If the application is approved. This should not be developed, in any sense, as a gated community. Residents from the surrounding community should be able to access new open space/ greenspace recreational opportunities proposed the site. The access to green and open spaces is seen as a priority by many as part of the ongoing recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic. The potential engagement of the charities LOVE Gorgie Farm and People Know as operators for community garden and community facilities on the site, should planning permission be granted, is a positive step in this regard.

Although we welcome the retention of the B listed main school building and janitor’s house.  We do not accept the assessment used to justify the demolition of the workshop block, which pre-dates the school and is of some historic significance and crucial to understanding the site.  These would seem to be ideal for repurposing as community facilities, on-site shops, bikes stores, storage areas or a wide variety of other utility functions associated with the proposed student development.

We are aware of the local community’s interest in the potential of the site for social, multigenerational and co-housing development and of its concern regarding the potential over provision of student accommodation in this community and of the potential dis-benefits associated with this. If this development represents over provision of student accommodation in this community, then the opportunity to provide a mix of uses, including business and community use, which could assist with integrating the site into the community should be reassessed in consultation with the local community.