Crescent will be built around Victorian building
New plans unveiled for homes at Donaldson’s College
A joint application has been submitted from heritage restoration specialist City & Country which wants to transform the A-Listed William Henry Playfair building into 117 residential homes and convert two gatehouses.
CALA Homes proposes a split crescent of 84 apartments to the north of the 164-year-old building which has been vacant since the deaf school moved out to new premises in Linlithgow in 2008.
The applicants have been involved in a series of public consultations with residents, businesses and other stakeholders about the updated planning consents, which were first approved in 2007.
Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country, said: “This is a truly magnificent building in a World Heritage Site, so it is absolutely right that such time and effort has gone into the public consultation.
“Having listened carefully to extensive feedback we are confident that our plans provide the best possible solution to safeguard the iconic Playfair building, while sensitively adding a new layer of history to the site.
“The local community, businesses and the City of Edinburgh Council have all stated how important it is to see this building secured for future generations and it is vitally important that a viable new use is found.
“After much work, we hope our plans will be approved, allowing the next positive chapter in the life of the Playfair building and for the Donaldson’s site to be realised.”
City & Country will create conversion apartments, from studios up to three bedroom duplexes with views over the city. The firm says it will protect the heritage of the building and many historic features will be retained including original joinery, fireplaces, cornices and staircases.
There will be no additions or extensions to the existing building and the south lawn will remain an open, grassed area.
CALA’s proposed crescent to the north of the site will create a varied mix of property types, including family units, one bed apartments, maisonettes, ground floor apartments with private gardens and penthouses. Parking for all residents would be within discrete underground car parks.
All of the new properties would boast panoramic views of the Donaldson’s building which is set in 17 acres.
David McGrath, managing director of CALA Homes (East) said: “Throughout the process we have liaised closely with planners and with other departments within the City of Edinburgh Council. It has been reassuring that they have been so committed to seeing this site restored.
“We are excited to be submitting our final plans after a detailed and lengthy process. Now we look forward to the chance to deliver what would be a truly outstanding addition to a very special location.”
The site has been subject to a number of proposals and CALA considered selling it. In the time since it was appointed preferred bidder in 2002 the company itself has been acquired and restructured.