Flat roofs concerns over proposed council care village in Bonnyrigg

There is no place in Scotland for flat roofs, councillors warned last week, after plans for a new care village included them in the design.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 2:53 pm
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:22 pm
An artist's impression of the proposed council care village in Bonnyrigg.

Concern was raised over the use of flat roofs on extra-care housing which Midlothian Council is building in Bonnyrigg, as it was claimed they would “leak within six months”.

Councillor Joe Wallace (SNP) said it was folly to use the flat roofs, calling for a pitched slope to allow rain water to drain off.

However, he was told by the council’s planning chief Peter Arnsdorf that while the design of the building might make the roof look flat there was likely to be some sloping for drainage.

And he said by using a flat roof the council was able to create three storey housing which was no higher than the previous buildings on the site.

The proposals for the former St Mary’s Primary School land will see 46 extra care houses built in a three storey block alongside a 30-bed care home and 10 rehab flats.

Councillor Wallace said the design was not practical given Scottish weather.

He said: “I don’t know how many times I’ve raised this but Scotland just should not build flat roofs. I can guarantee that within six months it will be leaking. Can we please put a pitch on this roof and allow water to run away.”

Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) pointed to the number of flat-roofed schools built in Midlothian in recent times saying he was not aware of leaking issues. However Cllr Wallace added that Lasswade High School was reporting problems with “water ingress”.

Mr Arnsdorf told the committee: “I understand the sentiment but in terms of flat roof design it is a modern approach to building construction. I appreciate Councillor Wallace is not a fan of that building. In this particular case we felt it was appropriate so you kept the heights of the structures at a level which is more compatible to the surrounding area.”

However other councillors pointed out the flat roof design would be out of place in the area, with Cllr Colin Cassidy (SNP) describing the design as “incongruous”.

The committee agreed to approve the plans for the care village but asked Mr Arnsdorf to go back to the architect and request they look at ways to add a pitch to the roof to address concerns.