Cala secures planning permission for Donaldson’s project

Cala's plans to redevelop Donaldson's School have been approved by City of Edinburgh Council
Cala's plans to redevelop Donaldson's School have been approved by City of Edinburgh Council
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Upmarket housebuilder Cala has been granted planning permission for the redevelopment of Edinburgh’s historic Donaldson’s School.

Under the plans, the Edinburgh-based firm’s Evans division will create a range of homes in the grounds of the William Playfair-designed building, which is to be converted by partner City & Country.

The permission, granted by City of Edinburgh Council, allows for 115 new properties sited within the Playfair building, along with 84 newly-built homes designed in a crescent shape to the rear. The sweeping South Lawn that faces Wester Coates will be retained as an open area.

David McGrath, managing director of Cala Homes East, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that city planners have approved our proposals and are now very much looking forward to delivering top-quality homes at very special location.

“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.”

He added: “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.

“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.”

READ MORE: Cala plans more than 200 homes in Edinburgh’s Balerno

Designed by city architect William Playfair and completed in 1851, Donaldson’s first use was a hospital for orphans, before turning into a specialist school for deaf children. The school relocated to Linlithgow in 2008.

Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country, said: “We are extremely pleased that the City of Edinburgh Council has approved our plans for this truly majestic building.

“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.”

She added: “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.”

Cala said in September that it had set itself the target of growing sales to £1 billion within the next five years after delivering record annual results.

Revenues in the year to June soared 79 per cent to £511.6 million, helping pre-tax profits almost double to £50.9m, compared with £26.8m a year earlier.