Chapter 1: Background
Site location and description
1.1 The application site is brownfield land, extending to 0.52 hectares and lying on the southern side of the A71 Gorgie Road, adjacent to a footpath that runs along the western bank of the Water of Leith. A five storey building, known as ELS House, faces Gorgie Road. This has car showroom premises at ground floor with student housing above. The proposal involves only the ground floor of this building – the upper floors being unaffected. Behind ELS House are motorcycle dealership and workshop premises, arranged over ground and basement levels within a steel framed building which would be demolished as part of the proposal.
1.2 To the immediate north west of the site, at the junction of Gorgie Road and Stenhouse Mill Wynd, is a four / five storey block of flats. Elsewhere in the locality is a mix of residential and business / light industrial units (in Stenhouse Mill Wynd). There is a small shopping area a short distance to the north east, on Gorgie Road.
1.3 Vehicular access to the site at present is from Gorgie Road and Stenhouse Mill Wynd
1.4 It is proposed to convert the ground floor of ELS house into three commercial units and a reception area for the student housing.
1.5 With the exception of the basement, which would be incorporated into the scheme, all of the motorcycle dealership premises would be demolished and replaced with a seven storey (plus basement) block of student accommodation attached to the rear of ELS House and a five storey (plus basement) residential block facing Stenhouse Mill Wynd. Between these would be a central courtyard (sitting above the basement accommodation) providing outdoor amenity space for both blocks.
1.6 Car and cycle parking would occupy the retained basement accommodation along with bin stores for both the residential and student housing blocks. It was originally proposed also to provide an indoor amenity space for the student accommodation, including sitting areas and a gym. However, the applicant has indicated that it would be content for this to be removed from the scheme if necessary for flood risk reasons. I discuss that issue later in this report.
1.7 Outdoor space within the site would be landscaped with turf, groundcover planting and hedging. Access to the basement car and cycle parking area would be via a ramp down from Stenhouse Mill Wynd.
1.8 By letter dated 13 November 2020, Scottish Ministers advised the council that, in view of the proposed development's potential conflict with national policy on flooding, the planning application for this proposal was required to be referred to them for determination under section 46 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.