A controversial proposal for around 240 flats on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office on Brunswick Place has been rejected by councillors on design grounds.
According to The Cockburn Association, who made a critical representation to the planning committee and then subsequently tweeted the ensuing debate, vice-convenor Sandy Howat described the Barratt East scheme as “soviet” whilst another councillor suggested the proposals looked like an “army camp” and “weetabix architecture.”
And in a bit of an own goal – reportedly even the architect responsible for the scheme admitted during the discussion that the “urban design wasn’t fantastic.”
Prior to the committee meeting the proposals had already attracted wide-spread criticism from local residents, with more than a hundred residents of the adjacent Allanfield development signing a petition objecting to the plans, largely on the basis that the density was too high and because of loss of amenity.
The Edinburgh Urban Design Panel also considered the scheme prior to the planning committee and they too concluded that they were “uncomfortable with the design approach to date to the site.”
So, pretty much everyone apart from planning officials agreed that plans were simply too high density, too ugly and too unambitious to be given the go ahead.
In the end councillors voted 13:2 to reject the plans, with local councillor Angela Blacklock proposing the “no” motion.
It now seems extremely likely that Barrat will appeal the decision to the Scottish Government. If the firm does go down this road there will clearly be many local residents hoping the Reporter does not override the views of the elected councillors on this one.
And as the Cockburn Assocation reflected afterwards: “…we’d prefer Barrat to come back with a good design for the site that makes the neighbours happy.”
It will be interesting to see what happens next.