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Submitted by Editor on


Edinburgh Council has submitted plans for Phase 1 of a mixed housing development on the site of the former Powderhall Waste Transfer Station at 165 Broughton Rd (24/01596/FUL).

Below we summarise some of the principal features of what, at first glance, appears to be an attractive and well-conceived addition to Edinburgh’s housing stock.


This stage of the proposal comprises 103 affordable flats and 4 townhouses in 3 blocks. They include 1, 2 and 3-bdrm flats, 3-bdrm townhouses and four 2-bdrm wheelchair-accessible flats; some for social rent, some mid-market rent, others for private purchase.

The 3-storey townhouses sit close behind the Stable block, overlooking the ‘Civic Square’ at the development’s entrance. The other two 5-storey blocks are on the east side of the site, overlooking Redbraes Park and/or the Water of Leith.

Although not red sandstone, materials are meant to respond to the colour, solidity and texture of the adjacent Stables building.


To provide renewable heat, air source heat pumps and exhaust air source heat pumps will be used for the townhouses and flats respectively. Rooftop photovaltaic arrays will power all homes. Waste storage and collection will utilise an underground refuse system with small ‘street bins’ at the surface.

Green amenity space, communal courtyards, walking, wheeling and active travel are prioritised over private motor vehicles. Parking consists of 5 accessible spaces, 2 City Car Club spaces, 296 bike spaces.

Sustainable urban drainage systems for the site are: shallow ground-level rainwater gardens, green roofs, permeable paving, underground filter trenches.


While – from some angles – the uncompromising and towering blockiness of the blocks does not appeal to this observer, I'm prepared to believe it may soften with age and maturing landscape elements around. The development’s mix of dwelling sizes and tenure arrangements offers the prospect of a balanced community evolving here. I like the commitment to efficient homes, sustainable energy and car-free living. I admire the maximisation of level access and open amenity spaces in what has been a challenging site for the architects.

To protect the Water of Leith from excessive run-off and pollution, it is important that drainage arrangements to attenuate rainfall be regularly monitored and maintained. Similarly, I hope really careful consideration will continue to be given to possible consequences of capping-off heavily contaminated subsoil.

I don't like everything about this, but overall my response is positive.—AM

If you wish to comment, you can do so online here until 3 May. A determination is expected by 26 July. If planning consent is granted, phased construction could start in 2025.