Mixed-use development plans unveiled for Chesser site

PROPOSALS for a new residential development in Chesser, Edinburgh, have been announced.

Watkin Jones Group plans to redevelop land to the rear of the Corn Exchange, which includes the World of Football and World of Bowling buildings.

The proposed mixed-use brownfield development will comprise a majority of build-to-rent (BTR) homes, including affordable homes, as well as managed student accommodation.

The move forms part of an overall regeneration of the brownfield site following the recent acquisition of the Corn Exchange building concert venue by the Academy Music Group, to be called the O2 Academy Edinburgh.

Pending planning consent, the work will complete in 2025. Watkin Jones explained the site – formerly comprising a mix of listed and unlisted buildings originally used as an auction mart and livestock sheds – will seek to ‘retain the character and elements of the buildings’.

The BTR apartments will comprise a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats. Student bed spaces are proposed as a mix of studio and cluster rooms.

A ‘significant’ proportion of the former livestock shed frames are to be retained and incorporated into the overall development. There will also be a variety of external communal spaces and a large central public square.

The developer has formally submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) to City of Edinburgh Council, informing it that it intends to submit a planning application for the development following a consultation period.

Iain Smith, planning director for Watkin Jones, said, “We’re thrilled to be announcing our exciting scheme for this new urban quarter at Chesser, creating a thriving and diverse community as part of an overall redevelopment of the area. The site is in a highly sustainable location with excellent access to amenities and transport links and will be built to future-proofed high environmental standards.

“Maintaining the strong heritage of the site is a feature of the development and our intention is to retain the character of the buildings where we can, ensuring their long-term viable future, with the creation of some fantastic public squares, each with their own distinct identity. These proposals will greatly assist in the regeneration of this part of the city and we are consulting extensively to ensure that people from across the local area have an opportunity to input their views and shape our ambitious proposals.”