The Save Jock’s Lodge campaign, a grassroots campaign group opposing the controversial plan to build a major student accommodation development at Jock’s Lodge, is holding a public meeting so that local residents can learn more about the proposal and how to register their concerns.
The meeting will take place on Monday 17 October at 7:30pm, and will be held at Northfield-Willowbrae Community Centre. All local residents are encouraged to attend.
The proposal itself would involve demolishing a popular pub at the historic crossroads in the east of the city to make way for a seven storey block of student flats. The pub, currently called the Willow and previously known as Jock’s Lodge, is much-loved in the area for its beer garden, food and family friendly atmosphere. The group’s research has found that there has been a pub on the site for at least 150 years.
The Jock’s Lodge application would join eight other student accommodation blocks within a mile’s radius which have already been built or have planning permission. This would tip the number of student bedrooms in the area to over 2000, which the group says represents overconcentration. There are also fears this development would accelerate the already changing the character of the neighbourhood due to the increasing transient population.
The Save Jock’s Lodge campaign already has the backing of Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard and local Craigentinny-Duddingston councillor Danny Aston.
Commenting, Tommy Sheppard MP said:
“I’ve repeatedly spoken out against the dramatic increase of student accommodation developments which have grown like a rash in Abbeyhill and Meadowbank over the last few years. This one at Jock’s Lodge would take the number of student bedrooms in the area to over 2000.
“Too many potential good housing sites have already been taken by student accommodation developers. This one would involve the loss of a popular local pub too.
“I held a surgery at the church opposite a few weeks ago where nearly 50 people turned up to express their concerns about this. That number is completely unprecedented. Local people are understandably really angry about this. Our message is clear: enough is enough.”
Cllr Danny Aston added:
“I’ve received so many emails about this and it’s not hard to see why. As well as the loss of an excellent and historic pub, and the sheer number of student developments in the area, people are also very concerned about a number of other issues.
“The seven storeys proposed by Alumno the developer will completed dominate the main approach to this crossroads from Willowbrae Road and from Portobello. The junction is currently composed of historic stone buildings, including the B-listed church and C-listed Piershill tenements. This huge, bland modern block will ruin the historic character of Jock’s Lodge. And a lot of folk are understandably worried that it will add to congestion at what is already a very busy junction.
“Alumno hasn’t submitted their detailed application so far so it isn’t yet possible to submit a formal comment. I’d urge local residents to come along on Monday, share their opinions and find out how to make their views known when the time comes.”