Former British Legion base could be retirement haven

How the senior citizens' development would look if the city council gives the go-ahead
How the senior citizens' development would look if the city council gives the go-ahead
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NEW images show proposals for the development of almost 50 retirement apartments on the site of the former Royal British Legion Club in Portobello.

A proposal for a new retirement development on Baileyfield Road has been lodged for planning permission with the city council following consultation with the local community.

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd wants to redevelop the site of the former Royal British Legion Club into 49 private sheltered apartments for people over the age of 60. It would be similar to its recently approved project at Juniper Green in Edinburgh.

The former Portobello British Legion – once one of the biggest in Scotland – closed in 2010 due to “crippling overheads”.

Chairman Peter Thomson had seen the club’s membership fall by 1,000 in the last ten years of its existence. Factors such as the smoking ban and new licensing laws – which meant the club could rent the premises out to non-members just 12 times per year – were also blamed for contributing to its downfall.

The development would see the demolition of buildings on the site and redevelopment for sheltered apartments for seniors, plus communal facilities, landscaping and car parking.

Portobello community council chairman John Stewart said: “I think it’s an excellent use for the site and it certainly seems to have the backing of Portobello residents. I know that McCarthy and Stone did a lot of consultation with residents, particular the people who live nearby, and in light of that they have endeavoured to keep more of the trees at the front of the scheme than they perhaps intended.”

McCarthy & Stone said the development would bring benefits to the local community, such as specialist homes for the elderly, while “making a positive impact on the urban regeneration of the area”.

It said feedback showed strong support, with 96 per cent of those completing a questionnaire rating the development as positive and 92 indicating it is a good use of the site.

However, some changes were made to the original proposal, including changes to the external materials used on the building and retention of several mature trees surrounding the site.

Managing director Stephen Wiseman said: “The comments received are invaluable in shaping our final plans and I’m pleased our plans were well received by the community.”

The application is expected to appear before the city council in spring.