Former Loanhead eyesore: plans include no affordable housing

Mayburn House in Loanhead. Photo by Scott Louden.
Mayburn House in Loanhead. Photo by Scott Louden.

A plan to create 20 new homes on the site of a former nursing home does not include any affordable housing because the building has fallen into disrepair.

An application to demolish part of Mayburn House, Loanhead, and renovate the remaining buildings argues the “unusual” nature of the project makes it financially non-viable to offer the cheaper homes.

It comes just months after councillors on Midlothian’s planning committee allowed another project to go ahead with reduced affordable housing because of renovation costs.

That project, for 400 homes at the former Rosslynlee Hospital, Roslin, saw councillors go against their officers’ advice and allow developers to waive standard contributions.

They were also allowed to reduce the number of affordable housing units on the site from the standard 25 per cent expected by the local authority from every developer to just eight per cent.

Submitting plans for the former nursing home in Loanhead, agents Covell Matthews, on behalf of applicant Angus MacLennan, said project costs were ‘abnormal’.

They said: “The development is slightly unusual in nature,involving the selective demolition of sub-standard, semi-derelict sections of the existing buildings.

“The existing buildings to be retained require wholesale refurbishment as part of the change of use. The nature of these types of project incur substantial abnormal costs.

“It is therefore proposed not to include any affordable housing as part of this development. To do so would seriously affect the financial viability of the project.”

The agents said Mr MacLennan would be willing to pay a commuted sum to be agreed if the project were approved.

The former nursing home was owned by CrossReach and sold in 2014, six years after it closed its doors and residents moved to a council care home.

It has remained an eyesore for local residents and the agents told planning officers their proposals would benefit the community.

They said: “The project represents an excellent opportunity to redevelop an existing building that is currently a ‘blot’ on the existing neighbourhood.

“It is currently in considerable disrepair and in a semi-derelict condition.

“The site is also the location for regular fly-tipping and the neighbourhood will considerably benefit from its redevelopment.”