Hearing to be held over proposed student complex on former Tynecastle High site

A planning application for a proposed student residential development at Edinburgh’s former Tynecastle High School site is set to go to a council hearing on Wednesday 21st September.

It comes as the developers, S1 Developments, announced that the last property in the final phase of The Ropeworks site in Leith (in collaboration with Teague Homes UK) had been sold. The development, which includes 318 private residential units and 350 affordable mid-market rent units, was launched in 2017 and has established a new community on a formerly derelict industrial site.

Like the Ropeworks, the proposed student development at Tynecastle has been tipped to regenerate a site that has lain vacant for over a decade. The ‘sympathetic restoration’ of the original B-listed school building, designed by John Alexander Carfrae, is described as forming an ‘integral’ part of the plans.

Development of the site is challenging due to the proximity of the neighbouring North British Distillery, Tynecastle Stadium and the Western Approach Road. The new buildings are said to have been designed to limit the impacts in terms of air quality and noise; creating a sheltered courtyard and communal amenity spaces at the heart of the site. The original school hall will be repurposed as an amenity hub providing shared facilities including a gym, library and study spaces.

The development will be car-free with heat generated entirely by air source heat pumps. Meanwhile, SI Developments revealed that landscaping proposals increase green space across the site by more than 40%.

If planning is approved, charities LOVE Gorgie Farm and People Know How will operate community facilities on the site. The urban farm, which already works with Tynecastle High School, will operate a community garden, while People Know How will operate a community facility within the building.

S1 Developments recently achieved planning approval for the nearby former CTD Tiles warehouse site. Work has started to deliver 46 apartments, including 11 affordable homes in association with Link Group.

Dan Teague, director at S1 Developments, said, “At S1 Developments we develop sites to suit the location and have delivered hundreds of homes, including affordable homes across the city, most recently at The Ropeworks in Leith. Following our careful assessment of the Old Tynecastle High School site, we feel that student development is the most appropriate use given the severe constraints. This will not only secure the redevelopment of the school, and provide a boost to the local economy, but also serve to free up the equivalent of 170 homes which are more appropriate for families.

“The original school building has fallen into a sorry state since it ceased being a school over a decade ago. Whilst the redevelopment is challenging, we are hopeful that the proposed use brings with it an opportunity to save and renovate the original school building and continue its educational use, benefitting the local community.”

Local Sighthill/Gorgie councillor, Catherine Fullerton, commented, “The school has lain moribund for far too many years and is an appropriate site for such a development. It will bring community benefits too through the delivery of community space for charity People Know How and a garden managed by LOVE Gorgie Farm.

“There is clear evidence that the demand outweighs supply of student accommodation in Edinburgh, and this site has excellent travel routes to the various colleges and universities in the capital. In addition, and importantly, the development will boost the local economy in Gorgie and Dalry which is of great importance to me, having lived in both these areas and shop there regularly. I am also pleased that much of the original building/facades will be restored as a reminder of the old school which served the community well.”