In a surprise decision that will likely be welcomed by many locals, the City of Edinburgh Council has rejected a proposal for 73 private flats that would have overlooked the Broughton Primary School playground.
Planning permission for the development at 154 McDonald Road was viewed by many as a foregone conclusion, as the council itself was set to benefit from the sale of the building and had been heavily involved in pre-application discussions with the developer.
But following a concerted campaign from a number of local civic groups – reported in detail by the Broughton Spurtle here – and an exceptionally well argued objection against the proposals from the Broughton Parent School Council – councillors decided not to approve the plans.
Whilst campaigners will be delighted that they’ve won the battle, those opposed to the redevelopment of the building for uses other than civic or educational use may not have won the war.
Greener Leith contacted all the local councillors and education convenor, Cllr Godzik, for comment on the decision. So far Cllr Godzik is the only person who has responded.
He makes it clear that despite the planning committee decision the council will press ahead with plans to build extra classrooms in the school grounds – rather than converting the building at 154 McDonald Road, which adjoins the school building, back to educational use.
In an email comment, he said: “It’s primarily a planning decision. 154 McDonald Rd is not part of the Children & Families estate, and has not been for several decades. There is a need to deliver addition classrooms at Broughton Primary, and we believe this can be provided without impacting on playground space. Use of 154 McDonald Rd for additional classrooms has been investigated but is not seen as an affordable option, and would not be deliverable within the required timescales. ”
It remains to be seen whether the developers will appeal the planning committee decision to the Scottish Government, or whether they will return with a different plan for the building.