Sight Scotland and property developer S Harrison Developments have jointly submitted a planning application for a £40m redevelopment of the site of the charity’s former headquarters on Gillespie Crescent in Edinburgh.
The funds released by the sale of the site will enable Sight Scotland to expand its reach and support more people within existing services such as the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, as well as expanding its ability to fund medical research into the causes of sight loss.
Sight Scotland occupied the building for nearly a century but left the building in 2021 as it was no longer fit for purpose. Staff were relocated to open plan offices in nearby Gorgie, allowing them to work alongside the Scottish Braille Press Service.
The planning application proposes demolishing the vacant building and constructing purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and associated amenity space, landscaping and infrastructure. A total of 145 bedrooms are proposed, with additional amenities including a cinema/multimedia room and gym.
Sustainability credentials include green roof, solar panels, air source heat pumps, a rain garden and permeable paving.
A spokesperson for S Harrison Developments said: “We are in a housing crisis, with a need for all types of housing. Demand for student accommodation greatly outstrips supply, and this is placing significant pressure on traditional family housing stock, with students occupying homes that would in many cases have previously been occupied by families.
“This proposed development on a brownfield site, if approved, will respond to this increasing demand, housing students in a central location with easy access by active travel and public transport to universities and delivering significant investment into the local community.”