More Student Builds Will Help the Community? S1 Pulls a Fast One.

Tynecastle Development: Living Rent Gorgie/Dalry Branch update on their campaign to build affordable social housing in Gorgie instead of expensive student beds which treat students like cash cows. 

  
(Picture source: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/politics/council/application-submitted-for-controversial-plan-to-turn-old-edinburgh-school-into-student-accommodation-3356189.)

This Monday, S1 Developments made a press release to the Edinburgh Evening News to commemorate their application to turn the old Tynecastle High School in Gorgie into more purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). PBSAs are often expensive and poor quality, they drive up local rent prices, and they do nothing to fix the critical shortage of social and affordable housing in our country. For these reasons, our branch has been campaigning hard against this proposal from the beginning, but a wealthy property developer like the Teague Group has the resources to spin it into a great idea that will benefit the community. So, here are our responses to a few of the key claims made in the article:

Claim 1: "Proposed landscaping would increase green space across the site by more than 40 per cent."

At an abandoned high school site covered in concrete, there’s no doubt that a development would increase green space. More greenery is obviously a good thing, but the real questions we should be asking are who has access to it, what for, and why can't it be owned by the public?

Claim 2: "This student accommodation will free up housing stock, releasing up to 180 properties back into the housing market."

We need more housing stock, that much is obvious. But expensive PBSA is NO substitute for social and affordable housing that anyone can live in. Which homes will be freed up? Where are they? How much will they cost? A 3-bed flat for £1,200 isn't going to cut it for working families, so Living Rent's answer to this one is simple: The best way to increase housing stock is to build more homes—affordable, social, and green homes that bring down rent prices and provide for our communities!

Claim 3: "Charities and community groups will have access to the space and there will be a community garden to help tackle climate change."

The Teague Group are working hard to paint themselves as a friendly family business that cares about our community and is devoted to protecting the planet, but these PR stunts don't make up for the fact that their only real interest is seizing public land (a school) for private profits. The inefficient and profit-driven ways in which we use our land are a key driver in climate change, and these greedy property developers are no friends of the Earth. If they really wanted to help the community, they'd withdraw their application and push for social housing to take its place!

Conclusion

S1 Developments has felt the pushback from local residents and are doing everything they can to win us over, but bribes like private green space and community access don't make up for the only possible end for this project: more profits for Teague, and worse conditions for students and local residents. For these reasons, the Gorgie/Dalry branch of Living Rent opposes this application and will keep fighting until we have the social housing we need.

Next steps & how you can get involved. 

  1. The Gorgie/Dalry branch is now forming competent objections to the development plan, to make sure that the proposal is put up for discussion.  If you want to put in an objection, contact [email protected]  
  2. Next branch meeting on September 2nd at 6pm: https://www.livingrent.org/gorgie_dalry_and_edinburgh_south_agm 
  3. Building public support by outreaching to our neighbours and the wider community.