Edinburgh hotel could be demolished and replaced with student flats

The plans could see more than 100 beds constructed if approved by councillors.

Northfield House Hotel in Liberton

An Edinburgh hotel which dates from 1870 could be demolished and replaced with student flats if councillors approve proposals submitted by the owners.

Proposals have been submitted to Edinburgh City Council for the transformation of Northfield House Hotel in Liberton, by property developers Audley (Edinburgh) Limited).

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The plans include more than 103 beds, all in studio apartments with six accessible studios across the five floor building and will be aimed at various sections of the market including “mature students looking for a space of their own”.

56three Architects who have designed the building, are also planning for a total of 106 bike spaces of which 40 will be for e-bikes.

The hotel itself has been closed during the coronavirus pandemic and before lockdown was operating on an ad-hoc basis for private functions such as parties, funeral or wedding receptions with the kitchen and dining facilities also closed to non-residents, the plans state.

It currently has four ensuite bedrooms, a customer lounge, and a dining room and bar, however the owners now believe the business to be “not viable”, with the main building dating from 1870.

In the Design and Access Statement for the plans, the architects state: “The owners have reviewed the business model for the hotel and have concluded that the retention of the existing house is not viable.

“The inflexibility of the existing house does not lend itself to suitable conversion to provide sufficient, modern facilities to be competitive within the Edinburgh service industry.

“The house provides a limited internal floor area compared to its large plot size. We have reviewed options for extending the building however due to the small scale of the house and its position on site there is limited opportunity to provide a suitable increase in density.

“The proposal is to demolish the house to make way for a new purpose built development. The house is not listed and there is limited architectural merit to warrant retention.”

The student accommodation block is also designed to be “car-free”, the plans state, with the developers using the bus stops and planned cycle storage to help the sustainability of the development.

The site will also be constructed with recyclable materials as well as being “super insulated” and using “naturally ventilated accommodation spaces”.

The plans continue: “Student residential development is now a familiar sight around most cities and Edinburgh is no exception. Statistical analysis demonstrates an ongoing need for student accommodation in Edinburgh.

“This site addresses the recent move led by The University of Edinburgh to decentralise student accommodation and is thus well located to provide sustainable travel options and short trip solutions for residents to facilitate their studies.

“The accommodation will be designed and managed by companies specialized in house-sharing, offering pre-furnished and decorated rooms, communal amenities, including kitchens, social areas and coworking spaces, as well as professional services, such as concierge, cleaning and welfare.

“Apartments are compact yet well equipped, however, the extensive support spaces and service make this appealing to those individuals whose material wealth is limited due to the increasing digital lifestyle.”

The application will be considered by councillors in due course.

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