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Redevelopment work to begin

Donaldson’s College homes plan gets go-ahead

Donaldsons 1

Planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the former Donaldson’s college, Edinburgh into 115 homes.

City & Country will restore and convert the Playfair building, while CALA Evans will build 84 homes in the surrounding grounds in a crescent shape. The south lawn that faces Wester Coates will be retained as an open, landscaped area.

There will be 402 cycle parking spaces for residents, while car parking for both the Playfair building and the new build crescent will be sited underground.

Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country, said: “City & Country has a long and distinguished history working with incredibly inspiring and challenging architectural assets and the Playfair building is no different, sitting amongst some of the very finest buildings in the UK.

“The apartments will be carefully woven into the historic fabric of the building to provide genuinely unique places for people to live. Sited within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, we are pleased that our plans demonstrate the ambitions we have to breathe new life into this icon of Scottish architecture and we cannot wait to get started.”

Donaldsons 2Landscape proposals for the site have also been submitted which seek to enhance the mature landscaping at the site’s perimeter. The new build crescent will have private garden areas to the rear, while the Playfair building’s internal courtyard will serve as a private open space for residents with the remainder of the open spaces communal.

The proposed alterations to the Playfair building are mostly internal and include the conversion of currently redundant basement and attic spaces. External alterations to the building are located on the inner courtyard side including new dormers and roof terraces, a change of windows to doors and the landscape proposals for the internal courtyard.

David McGrath, managing director of CALA Homes (East) said: “Donaldson’s is a magnificent site and therefore its restoration is quite rightly a very high-profile project and one which we are proud to have been driving forward for a number of years.

“Throughout the community and council planning consultation process it has been very reassuring to see how committed everyone has been to seeing this site restored.

Donaldsons 3“We held a series of public consultations about the updated proposals, which were first approved in 2007, and listened carefully to extensive feedback. The local community all stated how important it is to see this building secured for future generations and we can now looking forward to making this a reality.”

Formerly Donaldson’s Hospital, the building was constructed between 1842 and 1851 after its benefactor, James Donaldson, bequeathed all of his property to build and found a hospital for children after his death. The striking design is the master work of renowned visionary architect William Henry Playfair, whose other famous work includes the National Monument and the National Gallery of Scotland.

During construction of the palatial building, it is said that Queen Victoria expressed her jealousy that the landmark building outclassed some of her own palaces. The building’s first use was a hospital for orphans, before turning into a specialist school for deaf children. The school relocated to Linlithgow in 2008.

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