February 2016 Community Meeting

In view of all the rumours and concerns raised by residents regarding the proposed ‘student flats’ build on the site of St Paul’s Church, TRIM Board converted their monthly meeting into a public meeting with Robert MacKenzie ( Owner of St Pauls Site), Craig Main ( Architect) and Alex Orr ( Managing Director Orbit)


The meeting was convened and was well attended by Board members, residents, representatives from Muirhouse & Salvesen Community Council, and Friends of West Pilton.


Our Chairman started the meeting by welcoming the attendees and outlining the issues that had been raised. The main issue was the lack of communication for any of the interested parties and this was highlighted by a concerned resident. He had been the only resident in the whole area to be sent a letter from the Council communicating this planning application.


The visitors explained that, for some years, it had been the responsibility of the Council to inform the surrounding residents of works. This patently had not happened. The visitors were under the impression that the Council had communicated with the interested parties in the neighbourhood and were less than pleased that this lack of communication had caused them quite a bit of grief.


The other issues raised in the community were– 1 the number of flats/residents; 2 the type of residents; 3 the use of the flats outside term time; 4 the car parking issues; 5 the safety of the students and residents; 6 the security of the new building once operational; 7 the loss of the community hall attached to the church now.


1 There are to be 6 single occupancy rooms arranged in a flat with a communal lounge and kitchen in each flat. A Total of 3 block


2/3 The rooms are only for students and will not be let to any other tenants. There will be a mix of students from the UK and abroad and on a flexible renting period. There will be short term students attending classes during college holiday periods.


4 There is to be a designated parking area within the designated area for up to 20 cars on site and 14ish on Muirhouse Avenue North at side of church site and this is considered to be adequate for student use.
5/6 The building will have an adult student monitor, will have CCTV and telephone communication to the Police, Fire and Ambulance services.


7 We all raised this issue and highlighted the fact that the church and the hall attached were much loved and used by the community. We asked if the new build would incorporate such a facility for the community. After much passionate discussion the visitors agreed to look at incorporating a space within the new build that could be used by the community – for meetings, events and support groups.


We have to say that the visitors were very pleased to come and talk to us, agreed to have an ‘event’ in the Community Shop where the local residents could come and speak with them, and understood that communication with the residents was of paramount importance,


TRIM took a ‘straw poll’ of the attendees asking each if they would consider not objecting to the student accommodation if a community space could be made available and most agreed to this.
All members of the Board are to be contacted for their final approval.

Chairman Robert Pearson Said

” It is vital that everyone communicates well with community groups, reps and the wider community. It is not acceptable for any developer to just pop in a proposal and expect us to accept it.
” TRIM communicates well with residents online, in the shop, notice boards and at our monthly meetings. We are looking forward to being able to communicate further updates from this application / proposal as we receive it”
” We would actively encourage residents to get in touch with us if they have concerns and we will raise them directly with Robert MacKenzie and his team”
” I am happy that the majority of the TRIM board present last night agreed to remove our objection to this planning application – This came about because we now understand what is proposed and what will be built if accepted”