Edinburgh Sees Increase in Approved Housing Plans Replaced by Student Accommodation, Raising Concerns

Edinburgh Sees Increase In Approved Housing Plans Replaced By Student Accommodation, Raising Concerns

Heritage organisation, the Cockburn Association, has raised concerns over a growing trend in Edinburgh where approved housing plans are being scrapped in favour of student accommodation after receiving consent for mainstream homes. The association views this shift as worrying and indicative of investors prioritising the more lucrative market for Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

Terry Levinthal, Director of the Cockburn Association, noted that housing consents are frequently changing to PBSA proposals immediately after approval. The association cited an example at 27 Arthur Street, where objections were raised against the change to student accommodation from the initially approved scheme of 33 apartments. The Cockburn Association believes that the approved development could have accommodated students, addressing the needs of non-first-year students seeking traditional flats to share with friends.

The housing crisis in the city, which encompasses student housing, has led to concerns about the shift from approved mainstream housing to specific and inflexible student bedsits. Rising mortgage rates and frozen private rents for traditional landlord properties appear to be pushing investors towards the more profitable PBSA market. However, this trend may not be in the best interest of the city’s already pressurised housing market in the long run.

This issue has come to light following the revelation that approved plans for homes on Willowbrae Road have been replaced with proposals for student accommodation. Developers submitted new plans for a block of 138 student beds, superseding previously consented proposals for a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom flats.

Local MPs and the community have expressed disbelief that a viable proposal for homes would be exchanged for student accommodation, particularly when the city is facing a housing emergency. Recent figures revealed that student accommodation accounts for over a quarter of all developments granted permission in the Capital.

The Cockburn Association and concerned citizens are urging the city council to address this issue, especially in light of the severe shortage of social rented homes, escalating private rental costs, and record levels of homelessness. The council has been approached for comment on the matter.


Source: Edinburgh News

Edinburgh’s Historic Royal Mile Struggles with Commercialization, Raising Concerns about Authenticity

Edinburgh's Historic Royal Mile Struggles With Commercialization, Raising Concerns About Authenticity

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a historic stretch of cobblestone streets connecting the iconic Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, has long been regarded as the heart and soul of the city. Lined with centuries-old buildings, charming taverns, and shops selling traditional Scottish wares, it has been a significant tourist attraction for decades. However, in recent years, the Royal Mile has faced criticism for the proliferation of gift shops, leading some to brand it as “embarrassing” and questioning its authenticity.

The Royal Mile’s transformation from a bustling hub of Scottish culture to a street filled with an overwhelming number of gift shops has been a gradual process. What was once a place where locals would gather for social and commercial activities has now become a magnet for tourists seeking tartan scarves, whisky-filled souvenirs, and other trinkets embodying Scottish stereotypes.

Critics argue that this commercialization has diluted the street’s historic charm and cultural significance. With each new gift shop that pops up, they claim, the Royal Mile loses a bit of its authenticity and becomes more of a theme park than a genuine representation of Scotland’s rich heritage.

The rise of gift shops has had a profound impact on local businesses operating on the Royal Mile. Traditional establishments such as family-owned pubs, independent bookstores, and artisan craft shops, which once thrived due to their unique offerings, now struggle to compete with the flashy storefronts selling mass-produced items.

Moreover, the high rental prices driven by the demand for prime locations on the Royal Mile make it increasingly challenging for small businesses to survive. The result is a homogenization of the street, where the same merchandise can be found in multiple shops, leaving little room for the distinctiveness and character that once defined the area.

Preserving the identity of the Royal Mile while addressing the concerns of those who find it “embarrassing” is a delicate balancing act. The challenge lies in finding ways to maintain the street’s appeal to tourists while simultaneously supporting local businesses and promoting authentic Scottish culture.

Some proposed solutions include stricter regulations on the types of businesses allowed to operate on the Royal Mile, encouraging a diverse mix of shops that showcase Scotland’s unique heritage. Additionally, supporting initiatives that promote local artisans and craftsmen, as well as providing affordable spaces for independent businesses, could help revitalize the street and bring back a sense of authenticity.

Source: Edinburgh Live

Remains of Mudan Warriors to be Repatriated from Edinburgh University to Taiwan

In a significant step towards reconciliation, a militia commander responsible for the brutal murder of two foreign tourists in Uganda now faces charges related to a school massacre, according to a statement made by a Ugandan general on Friday.

The commander, identified as Abdul Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu, was apprehended on Tuesday, along with six other members of the commando group accused of carrying out the shocking killings of a British and a South African honeymooner, as well as their guide, in Queen Elizabeth Park on October 17. However, the revelations now connect Kyoto to a school massacre that took place in June, further highlighting the extent of his alleged crimes.

The ADF rebels, affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State, have previously faced accusations from Ugandan authorities for their involvement in heinous attacks. These include an assault on a school in the western town of Mpondwe on June 17, resulting in the tragic loss of 42 lives. Another attack occurred on October 28 in Kasindi, located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming the lives of four individuals, including two Ugandan soldiers.

General Dick Olum, who leads the anti-ADF operation in the DRC, emphasised the correlation between these three attacks and Kyoto’s command. “It was the same Njovu, alias Abdul Rashid Kyoto, who commanded these attacks and the attack on the two tourists and their guide,” stated General Olum. He further expressed confidence in the wealth of information gathered on the ADF and the leaders responsible for orchestrating these violent acts.

The arrest of Kyoto is expected to bring a sense of reassurance to both Ugandans and tourists, underscoring the ongoing operations aimed at ensuring safety and defeating the ADF. The murders of the two tourists in one of Uganda’s renowned parks had raised concerns within the tourism sector, which significantly contributes to the country’s GDP.

The ADF, originally a rebel group with a Muslim majority in Uganda, expanded its operations to the eastern part of the DRC during the 1990s. In 2019, they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which claims responsibility for certain actions conducted by the ADF and presents them as its “Central African Province” (Iscap).

Efforts to address the threat posed by the ADF and provide justice for the victims have led to the recent sentencing of seven individuals in a Ugandan court. These individuals, including a 75-year-old man, pleaded guilty to charges of belonging to a “terrorist organisation,” financing terrorism, and trafficking children for recruitment into the ADF. Shockingly, one of them also admitted to recruiting his own children into the ADF and committing acts of rape.

The arrest of the ADF militia commander, along with the prosecution of individuals linked to the group, represents a significant step in combating the threat posed by the ADF and safeguarding the security and well-being of Ugandans and visitors to the country.


Source: Edinburgh Live