If plans move forward, a large new Edinburgh student village could be built. The development would replace a workshop and yard in the Leith area of the city to provide 112 residential units for students. The units will include single bedrooms, shared kitchens and larger studio bedrooms. The plans are for a seven storey building with common areas on the ground floor including a gym, lounge, study and social spaces, laundry and storage. This development has the potential to transform the area and create a new hub for students in Edinburgh.
The plans involve an ecological initiative as well. The space is designed to be car-free, with only two parking spaces incorporated into the site. It also will be host to a community garden, which will allow students in the complex as well as other local residents to take part in sustainable food production. Local artists and students from the Edinburgh College of Art will be able to showcase their work at the site.
This Edinburgh student village would be one of eight student accommodation developments within a mile range of the area. If the application is approved, this region will be able to house 3,523 students, nearly 10% of the city’s student population. An earlier proposal for the area involved a building of 33 apartments, which has since been scrapped.
This development is being planned during a time when Edinburgh is facing a housing crisis, with incredibly long waiting lists for properties and affordable housing being remarkably scarce. Some blame rising numbers of students in the city as well as the high volume of student accommodation being built for the problems in the housing market. As a result, this new student village as well as many others have been met with opposition from the community.
While there is no solution to the housing shortage in sight as of yet, the government has implemented a rent freeze in order to protect tenants during the cost of living crisis. As a result, landlords cannot increase their private rents beyond 3% except in certain cases allowing up to 6%, which is well below the current inflation rate. The rent cap for student accommodation, however, has been suspended. The caps are intended to attract investment while at the same not allowing excessively large increases in rent prices.