Watkin Jones Group unveil brownfield build-to-rent plans for Edinburgh


A NEW “urban quarter” is being proposed for brownfield land in the Chesser area of Edinburgh, it emerged today.

The development at New Mart Road will include build-to-rent homes (BTR) and student accommodation, say developers Watkin Jones Group.

The public can view the detailed plans at  www.newmart.scot and there is an online consultation on October 14 between 4-8pm.

An artist’s impression of the central square.

The former auction mart buildings and livestock sheds are now over 120 years old and in need of constant maintenance, repair and upgrade.

Refurbishment is cost-prohibitive so the developers want to build “new sustainable, environmentally friendly facilities” in their place.

If planning permission is granted, the work should be completed by 2025.

Iain Smith, planning director for Watkin Jones, said: “The site is in a highly sustainable location with excellent access to amenities and transport links and will be built to future-proofed high environmental standards.

“We are aware of the financial burden bringing the current dated facilities up to standard will be and that it is an uneconomical position for the current owners.”

Smith added:“Our intention is to retain the character of the buildings where we can, ensuring their long-term viable future.

“These proposals will greatly assist in the regeneration of this part of the city.”

The development is proposed as a car free scheme with accessible parking only.

A large central public square will be used by performing arts groups, farmers’ markets and as an urban gathering space for residents.

Watkin Jones Group has undertaken major BTR schemes throughout the UK, completing its first purpose-built scheme in Leeds in 2016.

It has extensive experience of working in Edinburgh, investing extensively in the city over the past 10 years.

Over the period it has developed a total of ten purpose-built student accommodation schemes, equating to 2,861 student homes.

BTR is a relatively new model for creating new homes in the UK but it is very popular in Europe and America.

All the properties are built for rent, not for sale, and are usually owned by a pension provider that wants to maintain a secure income to pay the pensions of its members.

Because the owner is a long-term professional investor there should be an emphasis on future-proofed sustainability and maintaining a diverse thriving community.

And that should keep the building and local area attractive as a place to live for decades.

Residents are offered long-term security of tenure, with the flexibility of renting and have access to wider on-site amenities, such as gyms and workspaces.

Recent research found that BTR homes charge similar rents to traditional rented homes.