Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Controversial Leith development rejected

Steads Place/ Leith Walk proposals Image copyright Drum Property Group
Image caption Developers wanted to knock down the existing building and replace it with a hotel, student accommodation, flats and a music venue

Controversial plans for a £50m development on Leith Walk in Edinburgh have been rejected by councillors.

Drum Property Group wanted to knock down a red sandstone building at Stead's Place to make way for a hotel, student accommodation, flats and a music venue.

It sparked a huge campaign from local people who opposed the proposals.

Councillors threw out the plans as they were unconvinced the developers had done enough to retain the old building.

Following a meeting lasting more than four-and-a-half hours, they said the proposals failed to meet a series of planning policies.

Concerns were also raised about the mix of housing and student accommodation in the developer's proposals.

They included a 56-bedroom hotel, accommodation for 471 postgraduate students, and 53 affordable housing flats.

'Devoid of character'

Planning convener, councillor Neil Gardiner, told the meeting: "I do feel all options to keep the building have not been fully explored. There are good things about this development.

"I hope that Drum will go away and think about what's been said and come back with a proposal that looks at conserving the existing building."Leith Walk councillor Lewis Ritchie labelled the proposals "charmless and bland", "devoid of character" and "incoherent and ineffective".

He added: "The people of Leith Walk don't want this development. Leith Walk deserves better."

A spokesman from the Save Leith Walk campaign, said they were "delighted" by the decision of the City of Edinburgh Council's planning committee.

"It is a victory for Leith, for Edinburgh and for local democracy."

Drum Property Group said it remains committed to an overhaul of the site.

Managing director Graham Bone said: "We are naturally disappointed, but not surprised, that councillors chose to ignore the recommendation of their officers to approve our transformational planning proposal for Stead's Place.

"We remain wholly committed to developing the site, and view today's decision as another step in what could be a long process. This will include the possibility of lodging an appeal with the Scottish government.

"It's a shame that Leith will be deprived of much needed new homes, facilities and improved amenity whilst that process is ongoing."

Story provided by local democracy reporter David Bol.

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