RBS Re-development – Summary of Proposed Changes

As discussed at recent NTBCC meeting, amended proposals have been lodged on the Edinburgh Planning portal mainly covering changes to the proposed new buildings fronting Fettes Row and Royal Crescent.

These amendments can be viewed on the planning portal (under the original application 16/05454/PPP). There are 35 new documents including 22 new drawings as well as updates to the original Design & Access Statement & the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Following NTBCC’s request, the final date for comments to be lodged has been extended by 10 days until Monday 15 January 2018 to reflect the Xmas holiday. It has also been confirmed that comments made on the previous application in November 2016 WILL BE taken into account when the Planning officer determines this amended application.

Broadly, the amended application proposes a small retail element (at street level fronting Dundas Street / Eyre Place) with maximum of 400 flats (if development is 100% residential) or some office / business use and/or an hotel and/or a care home with a reduced number of residential apartments.

The 8 January NTBCC Business meeting will be preceded by an open discussion (starting at 7:00pm) on these amended plans to allow the community to express their views and for everyone to better understand what is now proposed.

NTBCC also agreed to provide some guidance as to the key documents that have been either been added or amended to try to help understand the information contained therein.

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Update : Amended Plans Now Submitted for RBS Site Redevelopment

As discussed at recent NTBCC meetings and consistent with the recent presentation by representatives from GVA and Michael Laird Architects, amended proposals have now been lodged on the Edinburgh Planning portal covering changes to the proposed new buildings fronting Fettes Row and Royal Crescent.

These amendments can be viewed on the planning portal (under the original application 16/05454/PPP. The 35 additional documents include 22 new drawings as well as the expected updates to the original Design & Access Statement & the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Currently, given updates to the EIA, the final date for comments to be lodged is 5 January 2018. We have requested that this should be extended given that the consultation spans the festive period. Edinburgh Council have now confirmed an extension for all comments to Monday 15 January 2018.

From initial inspection, the proposals would seem to be consistent with the October NTBCC presentation – reducing the height of the 4 blocks on Fettes Row to 7 storeys (from 8) and more importantly, halving the height of the blocks fronting Royal Crescent in response to the concerns expressed by Historic Environment Scotland. This results in a 20% reduction in the total floor area and a reduction in the maximum number of residential units from 400 to an expected 300 (assuming a minimum-acceptable Class 4 (Office) use).

Whilst we welcome these changes, we will look more closely at the detail followed by a discussion at the next NTBCC meeting on 11 December.

 

Response to Consultation for new Performance Venue behind RBS in St Andrews Square

IMPACT Scotland hosted a community consultation exhibition regarding proposals for land within Royal Bank of Scotland’s ownership at 36 St Andrew Square on 7 November. The consultation covered the Pre-application notice for the  “Demolition of the 1960's rear office block to the rear of Dundas House and the erection of music and performing arts venue and Associated Uses”

Several members of the New Town & Broughton Community Council attended to better understand the development team's initial thoughts on the proposed redevelopment at the rear of Dundas House (current RBS branch in St Andrews Square).

Although we were initially surprised at the lack of specific detail,  we do support the approach being taken of exploring public views on the key aspects of the proposal (context, setting) – with further public consultations in early 2018 then covering the style, footprint, massing and height of the new building.

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November meeting headlines

At Monday’s well-attended meeting of the New Town & Broughton Community Council, there were discussions with Police Scotland Community officers on local crime & how the community can help with 20 mph limit enforcement; a discussion with a Council official on the next steps on the re-design of George Street; details of further planned public consultation on Picardy Place ; initial thoughts on the recent public exhibition on the new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in St Andrews Square ; NTBCC position regarding the Royal High School “hotel” appeal to the Scottish Reporter(s)  ; Edinburgh licensing issues and finally a brief discussion on how to better regulate the growing  Airbnb presence in Edinburgh city centre.

Police Scotland reported on several incidents of vehicle crime in the area (Satnavs, phones and cash being stolen from parked cars) & pointed residents to their website & precautions that you can take http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/home-and-personal-property/secure-your-car

They also discussed a new initiative to help enforcement of the 20 mph limits “Community Speed Watch” where they would train residents in local communities in the use of speed guns to monitor traffic speeds in their area. More details to follow.

Anna Herriman from Edinburgh Council discussed the next steps in the re-design of George Street. White Young Green (WYG) with LDA Design have been awarded a contract to further develop a “Masterplan” for George Street, keeping the principles of previous work completed by Ironside Farrar – there are further public consultation being planned in early December (at the Assembly Rooms)  - dates to be confirmed in the next few days.

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Demolition to Start at the Former B&Q Site

Although there has been some minor exploratory work in the car park of the former B&Q store in Warriston Road, the developer (Artisan) now has in place the necessary permissions to start re-development of the site and intends to commence demolition, site clearance and other prestart works on Monday 23rd October.

The local residents group has raised an historical issue regarding the enforcement of the no parking restrictions mainly at the western end of Powderhall Road – it would seem that during the development of Powderhall Village, no relevant traffic orders were exercised at that time, such that parking restrictions are currently unenforceable. The necessary provisions are now belatedly being progressed by Edinburgh Council and thankfully, with the retrofit of the adjacent Fusion House from office use to residential now being complete, the pressure on parking on this section of Powderhall Road has eased somewhat but residents remain concerned about the impact of the low number of planned parking spaces in the new Canonmills garden development and the probable over-spill into Powderhall and the surrounding streets.

We are pleased that the developer for the B&Q site has at least made contractors aware of the limited car parking in the area and has arranged for all of their personnel to park within the B&Q site boundary.

The demolition contractors are Kinetic Demolition (www.kineticdemolition.com) who can be contacted on 0131-510-7170 in the event of a reoccurrence of irresponsible parking.

Coincident with the demolition, a pro-active programme of tree maintenance that will involve some thinning and felling” will be undertaken in the existing tree belt at the eastern edge of the site.

Clearly, whilst some may miss the convenience of a DIY store in the locality, very few will miss the aesthetic contribution of the current shed, its yard or its car park – including its carrier-bag catching fencing.

NTBCC are overall supportive of the proposed development which will provide much needed new homes (including 25% “affordable" units) on a brownfield site that is no longer  deemed to have a viable commercial use.

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New Proposal – Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Re-development – Dundas St / Fettes Row / Royal Crescent

Following on from the seemingly “stalled” planning application (16/05454/PPP) for the former RBS site in the New Town, NTBCC were recently invited to a meeting by GVA / Michael Laird Architects to have first sight of their latest (amended) proposals.

The original application attracted over 400 objections including one from Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The agents and architects have been in discussion with both the Planning Authority and HES with the objective of amending the their plans in light of the many concerns raised with their original proposal, primarily (but not exclusively) due to the impact on the views and amenity of Fettes Row & Royal Crescent and the users of King George V Park.

We understand from these recent discussions that the agents intend submitting a set of amended plans – replacing elements of the original plans to address (at least in part) the concerns raised by HES and many others. We also understand that a further consultation period of at least 21 days  is envisaged which will allow residents to look at the proposed changes and submit further comments. There may also be further "neighbourhood notifications" to alert local residents to these amended plans.

We also strongly encouraged the developers to engage in a face to face discussion to give residents more background and explain the reasoning behind these amendments.

We are pleased that representatives from GVA and Michael Laird Architects will be at the October NTBCC meeting on Monday October 9th at 7:30pm in Broughton St Mary’s (further details on  http://www.ntbcc.org.uk/ntbcc-agenda-monday-9-october-2017/to discuss their latest thoughts.

The developers have indicated that their amended plans will be submitted for consideration in the next 1 – 2 months but  should provide a clearer timescale at the NTBCC meeting.

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George Street – Preliminary Design – Next Steps

NTBCC have been involved in discussions regarding the potential improvements and redesign of George Street for several years. We have been an active participant in the Steering group and attended the public consultations in 2015 and were involved in setting the Design Principles for George Street.

The following has been adapted from an email from Anna Herriman (Edinburgh Council's City Centre Programme Manager, South East Locality) that provides stakeholders and interested parties with an update on the beginning of the next phase of the development of a design for George Street. (Sections in quotation marks are reproduced verbatim).

A report updating Edinburgh Council's Transport & Environment committee on this preliminary design project is available on the Council website, and will be considered by the  committee on 5 October 2017. In summary though, key elements include:

  • Project scope
  • Appointment of consultants
  • The role of engagement and stakeholder input in the preliminary design stage
  • Timescales for the project

We have extended an invitation to Anna Herriman to come to the November NTBCC meeting to discuss this further.

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