Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, joined forces with local campaign group “Save Jock’s Lodge” to oppose the controversial plan to build a major student development at the corner of Restalrig Road South and London Road.
Over 1600 comments were submitted to Edinburgh City Council, with 1066 opposed to the application from developer Alumno Group and 533 comments in support. The deadline for public comments was February 10, 2023.
Sheppard, who has consistently voiced strong opposition to the development, formally submitted his objection to plans on Friday arguing that it would lead to an “excessive concentration of purpose-built student accommodation” in the area.
Within the last decade, no fewer than eight purpose-built student developments have been approved within a mile radius of Jock’s Lodge. These eight sites amount to over 1800 student bedrooms either already built or consented to.
He also highlighted how the seven-storey proposed structure would “radically” alter the appearance of the historic junction.
Commenting, Tommy Sheppard MP said:
“We cannot allow purpose-build student accommodation developers to run rampant in this part of the city. If the application is approved, we’ll see an increased hollowing out of the local community. There comes a point where we need to be able to say enough is enough.
“Credit goes to the Save Jock’s Lodge Campaign and local Councillor Danny Aston who have mobilised local people to oppose this unnecessary and unwanted development. I urge planners to listen to residents and reject this application.”
The Edinburgh MP, while noting the “tremendous positive effect” that Edinburgh’s world-class universities and students make to the city, has previously spoken out against purpose built student accommodation. In an Edinburgh Evening News Article from August 2022, Sheppard said:
“The lack of affordable housing in Edinburgh is one of the biggest social issues facing the city, and opportunities to build new quality social homes must be prioritised and maximised where possible.
“Yet developers continue to throw up sardine tin accommodation from which they can make huge profits, rather than build homes for families to avoid the legal obligation to provide a proportion of affordable homes. Sustainable communities need residents to be settled, not transient.”