LATEST ON ‘NEW TOWN NORTH’

On 6 December, Ediston again consulted the public about Orion Capital Managers’ ambitions for the 5.9-acre former RBS site between Dundas Street and King George V Park. 

The exhibition (formerly scheduled for October) took place in Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church, but all the displays shown will be found HERE. A feedback form will also be available online at the end, with responses invited by 29 December. 

These are pre-application proposals which respond to the previous consultation in September. 

A third and final public consultation is planned for the New Year, with a full application expected in spring 2020. Demolition could follow in 2021, with completion of the project in 2023.

Previous public opinions

Planning agents Turley say they received 59 responses from the 140 or so people who attended September’s event. From this they gathered:

  • most acceptance for a mixed-use development; least for student housing
  • a public desire for green space, and new medical and community facilities
  • general support for new pedestrian/cycle routes, but concern about their possible effect on the park
  • fears concerning potential overshadowing of the park, and approval of extending the park.

Developers’ response

Developers responded on Thursday with outline plans including demolition of existing structures and their replacement by up to 100 new homes, 200 build-to-rent apartments, 100,000 sq.ft of office space, and a new 130-bedroom hotel.

There is an attention to building heights, which are envisaged as occasionally matching but not exceeding those of existing neighbours along Dundas Street, Fettes Row, and Royal Crescent.

There could be new landscaped spaces linking the development to the park, and visually extending it.

Two new accessible-to-all pedestrian/cycle routes could be created east/west and north/south across the park.

Retention of the ‘green edge’ (trees/shrubbery) is envisaged on the north side of Fettes Row/Royal Crescent.

The view northward from Dundonald Street would be retained, notwithstanding two new crescents on the north side of Royal Crescent.

In particular, developers say they have responded to previous consultees’ opinions by:

  • emphasising a mixed-use development
  • careful reconsideration of through-routes
  • further thought on the buidings’ relationship with the park
  • ongoing thoughts about building heights, particularly on Royal Crescent.

Locals’ reactions to latest proposals

Some locals we spoke to on Thursday and Friday welcomed:

  • seemingly generous provision of green space
  • Ediston’s commitment to carefully plan and minimise disruption during construction
  • limits to on-site parking and no parking permits for adjacent streets.

Others remained worried about:

  • building heights (especially facing Royal Crescent), and possible overshadowing of the park
  • insufficient clarity about community additions such as child-care and medical facilities
  • potential for displaced parking to clog neighbouring streets.

The New Town & Broughton Community Council meets next on Monday 16 December, at which point further insights and observations may become apparent.

Economic benefit and need to have your say

In a press release issued on Thursday, Ediston said a research report it had commissioned showed the completed development would result in 700 new full-time jobs and provide a gross added value ‘economic uplift’ of £34.4M to the regional economy.

How much of this would be spent on pints, haircuts, and sandwiches in the immediate vicinity remains to be seen, but common sense suggests the economic effects would surely be better than the current hiatus.

Whatever one’s inevitable hesitations and doubts about the interim plans seen so far, the consultation process itself has been among the best Spurtle can remember.

So, we urge locals to take advantage of such good practice by responding in detail on the online form (available HERE), or by writing (again by 29 December) to: Alison Maguire, 26 Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NN.

Got a view? Tell us at spurtle@hotmail.co.uk and @theSpurtle

Royal Crescent
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