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Gorgie student surge shows no sign of slowing

May 2 2019

Gorgie student surge shows no sign of slowing

Developer S Harrison has communicated their intent to build a major student accommodation scheme on Westfield Road and Westfield Avenue, Gorgie.

A planning submission by ICA identifies the site of a disused retail unit for a 394-bedroom development spread across two separate blocks together with a communal space, breakout area, games room, gym, cinema and laundry.

Gavin Douglas, from S Harrison, commented: “This development will breathe new life into a prominent site that is within easy reach of many of Edinburgh’s leading universities. It’s in a sought-after location, with a large range of shops and leisure amenities on the doorstep, as well as being on many busy bus routes, Murrayfield tram stop is just a short walk away and it’s near Edinburgh’s Core Path network providing easy access by cycle and foot around the city. We’re also proposing to bring the City Car Club scheme to Westfield Avenue which will benefit both occupiers and surrounding neighbours.

“Despite there being strong demand from students in Edinburgh for high quality, purpose-built accommodation, there has been limited supply in recent years and this development, along with our Gorgie Road proposals, will help to alleviate the problem. Both schemes will also regenerate two disused brownfield sites and significantly help to free up housing stock in the area for local people and families.”

The developer is also progressing plans to convert a 1970s office block in the West Coates area of the city to hotel use and is investigating the potential of a 0.6-hectare site at Ocean Drive, Leith.

A disused Sterling Furniture outlet will make way for the student residences
A disused Sterling Furniture outlet will make way for the student residences


Da neeburhood kid
#1 Posted by Da neeburhood kid on 3 May 2019 at 12:45 PM
''... Both schemes (referring also to the other recent Gorgie Road Proposals) will also regenerate two disused brownfield sites and significantly help to free up housing stock in the area for local people and families.''

Is that so, Gavin? Your sincerity and benevolence are eye-watering. Let's do some basic math. Based on 670 student reservation cells @ an average of £7,000 per annum (based on a cursory glance at the rental costs of six other Edinburgh University accommodation sites) I believe that would generate a 'conservative' revenue of £4.7M every year for the funders in perpetuity (albeit the community would clearly benefit from a lot of taxi hires and a helluva lot of Pot Noodle sales)

So, I do hope you won't mind if I paraphrase, as some of us on this planet might find the following a bit nearer the truth:

''You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? It's a perfect manifestation of capital. Its sterile perfection is matched only by its complete lack of any human spirit. I admire its cynicism. It's a pure belter, really... unclouded by architecture, remorse, or any delusion of delight. I can't lie to you about your chances, Gorgie, but... you have my sympathies.''

Almost makes you grateful for the Karl Marx-Hof at Westfield Court. Which reminds me, whatever happened to the need for a new civic politics?

Over to you, ECC.
A Local Pleb
#2 Posted by A Local Pleb on 3 May 2019 at 13:09 PM
Why does this just look like any another ICA project wrapped up in slightly different paper?
Thanks for nothing.
#3 Posted by John on 6 May 2019 at 09:04 AM
limited supply???
Da Neeburhood kid
#4 Posted by Da Neeburhood kid on 6 May 2019 at 13:36 PM
#3 - The factual numbers are there online in various reports (albeit about a year behind). Here are some straightforward numbers to give you the scale of things:
- 'There were 18,988 purpose-built student bedspaces in Edinburgh at the end of 2017, up from 17,215 at the end of 2016, of which 88% were of the self-catering variety. There are c.58,000 students attending the four universities in the Edinburgh area. Of these, c.16,000 are international students.'
However, the trend is that the number and rate of completions has been decreasing over recent years, contrary to consents.
Maybe, at about a third of the market share of accommodation types, these purpose-built student beds may have reached their peak up-take as developers have had to move further out from city centres, or too far away from campuses as distance is an important factor.
The point is I suspect, that history alone will tell us what benefits this phenomena of 'kettling' large numbers of transient students as planning policy has had in the maintenance of any local integrated and cohesive society.
A common sense would tell me it may well turn out to be detrimental, but then again, I ain't no sociology expert.
Has a narrow unchecked free-market approach to the built environment ever turned out well?

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