CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Is this a new kind of New town?

(77 posts)

  1. Rosie

    A new £500 million “urban quarter” is being planned for the outskirts of Edinburgh, which will create office space for 8,000 jobs and 1,800 homes.

    The capital’s biggest development for well over a decade is earmarked for a swathe of land on both sides of the tram line near the Gyle Shopping Centre.

    About 43 acres of undeveloped land to the south of the Edinburgh Park business park would be transformed under the plans by property developer Parabola."

    The micro-brewery is a cutting edge development:-

    "A “civic square”, 150-seat conference and events facility, bar-restaurant, leisure and medical centre, micro-brewery and specially commissioned works of art would also be created."

    So are the "fantastic pedestrian and cycling links".

    "“In many ways, these are possibly the best connected commercial and residential sites in the UK – next to the airport, with train stations, tram stops, public transport access and fantastic cycling and pedestrian links."

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. chdot

    “Is this a new kind of New town?”

    Not unless it includes schools, health centres etc.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. crowriver

    No, it's just a suburb.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. "I know - where's one of the most congested areas of Edinburgh? Let's build 1,800 new homes there plus assorted offices - and a microbrewery to appeal to the hipsters. We can conveniently gloss over the fact that we have no plans for dealing with the staggering lack of road infra and capacity (and the fact that people will spend their lives stuck in endless jams trying to get into and out of this development) by boasting about having some paths and cycleways! Micro-brewery and cycling - the checked-shirt, braces, groomed-beard & baseball-cap brigade will FLOCK here, I tell you!

    Job done - now where are those brown envelopes we need to stuff and send to our friends on the Planning Committee?"

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. PS

    To be fair, there is an existing tram stop and train station there (and a link to the Fife Circle also not too far away at South Gyle), so by British standards of transport planning this actually looks vaguely competent.

    The fact that punters probably won't be discouraged from using cars to get there (except through the resulting congestion or the natural demands of visiting a microbrewery) is more of a systemic issue.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. gibbo

    Is there really - as the article claims - a shortage of office space in Edinburgh?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. Rosie


    I wondered about that. There's space for rent in my building in Fountainbridge.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. Murun Buchstansangur

    @gibbo At the Gyle/Edinburgh Park, I wouldn't have said so. Is this site not the wasteland near Edinburgh Park station? If so, it's been zoned for offices for years, but no one has taken the risk of developing it, presumably due to lack of demand. All this proposal seems to add is to make it a mixed commercial/residential development? I'm not sure Edinburgh Park is many people's idea of a dream home.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. crowriver

    "I'm not sure Edinburgh Park is many people's idea of a dream home."

    Maybe not, but one thing there is a shortage of in Edinburgh is housing. So I expect people will go and live there.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. neddie

    and the fact that people will spend their lives stuck in endless jams trying to get into and out of this development

    Actually, putting some homes in there could help ease the traffic problems, as hopefully some people that move there will now be in walking distance of the office they work at.

    What would be better would be to build enough homes to serve the existing office capacity (and not build more offices). Add in a high school & primary school. Build those homes as high-density a.k.a tenement flats with limited parking. Bob's your uncle.

    But that would be holistic planning, which Scotland doesn't do.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. gibbo

    At the Gyle/Edinburgh Park, I wouldn't have said so.

    I was thnking about the centre of town. Lots of office space built in the last 20 years, but has there really been such an increase in office jobs?

    No doubt much of the city centre office space is fairly dated, but does it make sense to adandon it in favour of new developments at the edge of town.

    After all, if we were to design the city to maximise quality of life, wouldn't we want offices near where people live? Wouldn't that cut commuting time?

    (As well as, hopefully, the number of cars on the road.)

    This, to me, feels like building new offices because that makes profits for developers, rather than because it's the best long-term use of our city space.

    Though, of course, I could be completely wrong and there may be a genuine lack of workspace in Edinburgh.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. chdot


    In the city centre (where office take-up rates typically average 115,000 square foot per quarter) the market is characterised by a very limited supply, especially in core locations like Quartermile and Charlotte Square, where rents exceed £30 / square foot.

    A noticeable rental differential exists between city centre and out-of-town offices. The cost of the latter ranges between £14 and £20 / square foot, with £17 being average. However, in the next couple of years £20 / square foot may become the norm for out-of-town properties. Changes in demand and availability mean that rental values are likely to rise, since an increasing number of occupiers are willing to consider an out-of-town location after not being able to find suitable space in the city. The most in-demand locations for this type of office space are Edinburgh Park and South Gyle Business Park.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. AKen

    This site is down-wind of the stinking chicken farm. Selling agents better limit viewings of any homes built here only to days when the wind is from the east.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. Snowy

    Indeed - it's no coincidence that the clear land in Edinburgh Park is directly in the path of the prevailing wind from the stinkin' chicken farm(tm).

    When I worked at EP, if the wind was from a slightly more southerly direction, we would walk out of our building and almost retch.

    That farm's days must be numbered...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. Arellcat

    This, to me, feels like building new offices because that makes profits for developers

    Oh, you've been to Eurocentral then? :-(

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. Murun Buchstansangur

    Eurocentral was based on tax breaks, no?


    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. chdot

    “That farm's days must be numbered...”

    Actually thought it had gone!

    Is it part of the ‘garden district’ plan?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. HankChief

    The stinky chicken farm is on land that the Garden District would be built on if the Reporter appointed by the Scottish Minister allows it. There's a hearing on the matter next week with all interested parties.

    There happens to be some pesky cyclists (amongst others) who are putting their tuppence in on the subject ;-)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. crowriver

    "some pesky cyclists"

    Doubtless the all powerful lobby group Spokes of EEN comments section lore.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. chdot

    “There happens to be some pesky cyclists (amongst others) who are putting their tuppence in on the subject ;-)”

    ‘Cyclists support farmer’s right to pollute air’(?)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. HankChief

    Didn't realise that this was going straight for Planning Permision...

    Planning Application

    Key Document

    4.3.5 Cycle Access The boulevard will feature from its opening, two dedicated cycle lanes, segregated from the road surface. These will ensure the highest levels of cycle access across the site and will enhance the existing East – West cycle route.
    By segregating the main cycle route from the road surface, a safer and more desirable route will be provided. Crossing points for bikes will be provided at either end of the boulevard and ample parking facilities will be provided along the boulevard to allow stop-off parking.
    Parking for office users will be provided at a central parking area that will be integrated in the Transport Hub building. This will provide safe, well lit and secure parking facilities for cycle commuters. The cycle provisions will be to or exceed CEC standards.
    Showers, changing, lockers and clothes drying facilities will be provided in each office development building.

    To further foster improved cycle access, Parabola have been in discussions with Transport for Edinburgh and are keen to support the rollout of Cycle Hire / Cycle Hubs across the West Edinburgh area, including within the development area. Further stages of the wider development will also consider enhancements to the pedestrian / cycle underpass under the railway to the southeast of the site.


    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. HankChief

    From my reading of it, the Boulevard will have a segregated cycle lane behind a row of trees. Which is a good thing.

    However, at the West end of it looks like you have a multistage toucan crossing to access the Bypass Underpass (which could be improved if the Garden District gets built).

    And at the East end of the Boulevard, the cycle provision just ends with a ASL... It's not clear how this then connects any other routes.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. HankChief

    This is a better Document to look at.

    I really recommend reading the appendices - especially the one with all of CEC's cycle routes on it - several that I don't recognise.

    "Planning Condition 13
    6.14 Planning Condition 13 states: “Prior to the development commencing, details of a strategic cycle network, including a provision that cyclist access shall be available to the
    whole road and path network of the development, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Head of Planning.”

    6.15 The proposed boulevard has segregated cycle lanes on both sides of the road to encourage safe and secure cycle access across the site. These merge into the existing
    road network on either side of the boulevard which is noted as being suitable and safe for cyclist use.

    6.16 The road network leading from the boulevard into the urban square will be a shared surface area to encourage and foster sustainable travel and dissuade private car use.

    6.17 The boulevard will link with existing paths within the site and will ensure that cyclists can access the whole park either by road or path.

    6.18 The cycle lanes will feature at grade crossings of side entrances and roads to minimise cyclist discomfort. The boulevard design also includes cycle advance stop lines to
    improve road safety and priority.

    6.19 WYG consider that the planning condition can therefore be discharged.

    Yeah - let's put some cycle routes on 1 road and call it a network...

    I will credit them with having 700 undercover cycle parking spaces and 200 hundred above ground (vs. 1,500 car parking spaces), but still...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. Colonies_Chris

    Analysis from Spokes here

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. neddie

    6.18 The cycle lanes will feature at grade crossings of side entrances and roads to minimise cyclist discomfort.

    “at grade” but not necessarily with any priority. Sounds like your usual give-way-at-every-junction stuff

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. HankChief

    grumpy tweet with pic

    The segregated cycle route is uni directional and it isn't remotely clear how you'd get from one side of the 4 lane Boulevard to anything on the other side

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. HankChief

    I been having a look at the plans for each of the ground floor for the buildings to the North of the Boulevard.

    They all have cycle storage spaces and showers, so far so good. I can't see much in the way of lockers, but maybe they are not shown.

    What does surprise me is that for (at least) buildings NW1b, NW1a you have to access then cycle storage via a narrow ramp and a 90degree turn through a doorway. Obviously only strong cyclists with 'normal' bikes then...

    The parking seems to all be stuck in a multistorey near the bypass, with the area around the office buildings nearly all for pedestrians. Not a bad set up.

    However assuming you are coming from the East (town) on your bike you will be on the Segregated cycle path on the South side if the Boulevard and you bike store will be on the Northside. It's not particularly clear how you'd cross the road to access them. It looks like you'd have to cycle past to the next crossing and then cycle back on yourself. Or no doubt some other solution you come up with that isn't compatible with other people's travel methods.

    Given they have 700 bikes spaces you'd have thought they'd have considered door to door routes for cyclists.

    Strikes me that they are getting involved in the cycle to work revolution with actually considering anyone actually doing it...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. acsimpson

    Unfortunately you can't link directly to documents on the planning portal. If anyone is looking for the document Hankchief linked it is on planning reference 17/04341/AMC dated the 2nd of October and called "Transport statement + appendices"

    @Hankchief, The items you point out do all seem strange. If cyclists are having to go onwards to then come back to the junction they need then I would expect a significant number will just end up using the road as it will be quicker especially as it is a 20mph road and so in theory many cyclists would be travelling at around the speed limit.

    There is no extension of the north-south path along the tram line which I would like to see as it is the most likely route for anyone heading to the site from the North (Gogar Roundabout).

    My biggest objection currently is the nature of the boulevard itself. I cannot currently see a 20mph road working if there are two lanes in either direction. Given that the only thing currently slowing down the majority of cars is a car in front of them the second lane will predominately be a criminal usage space. This happens on Maybury Road at 40mph and Maybury drive at 30mph so I see no reason a 20mph road would be different. One lane either way should be more than capable of handling the levels of traffic they are expecting to generate and the presence of the tram crossing is just an excuse as less effect than any other road junction:

    " The boulevard will be designed with two lanes in each
    direction, in part to reduce the impact of the tram crossing on traffic flows and to also
    future proof the street for additional future development. "

    Why does future proofing have to be tarmac. A wide grass strip would be more future proof as could be converted to any use without the need to remove road space.

    If I am reading the plan for NW1B correctly then I don't see any reason the area between the two buildings couldn't all be at the level of the door which would mitigate some of the problems. Even that would leave some unanswered questions about why the access has been put down a (dark, uninviting) alleyway without any security oversite rather than somewhere on the front of the building with higher passing traffic. They seem to be designing this so that you would need to get off and push your bike into the building which isn't much good for any non-ambulant cyclists.

    @nedd1e_h, It's not even clear from "at_grade" which grade they mean. I would read this as an alternative to grade segregated (ie a bridge) and therefore could well mean that cyclists will be crossing at the level of the road rather than any sort of raised table being present on the road.

    I have already sent an email regarding my objections to the dual carriageway (and the lack of pre planning consultation) but might well send another if time allows with some of these other points.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. acsimpson

    I wasn't planning to dig deeper into the planning application but once I'd opened it the inevitable happened.

    Here are some more thoughts which may or may not be correct.

    My previous comment on NW1b is incorrect the bike door leads onto the tram lines so may not be a dark and uninviting as I suggested, however without the track side path being extended to and beyond EP Central tram stop there is still likely to be almost no passing traffic here.

    There seems to be some disparity in the cycle store and shower designed with some smaller blocks (such as NE1b) having apparently larger stores with separate showers shown while the larger blocks such as NW1b having smaller stores and no distinct showers marked.

    From what I have seen so far this application is only for the office part of this development with the housing marked as future building plot. Are the developers only pretending that this will be a mixed use partially residential development?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. HankChief

    Did you not think the cycle storage are awfully wee?

    Going to need some careful manouvring to fit them all in.

    I assume they must be intending double deckers like at Haymarket if they are going to get to 700 across the offices.

    Posted 1 year ago #

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