Plans for redevelopment of historic capital school given the go-ahead

Planning permission has been approved for the sensitive re-development of one of south Edinburgh’s best-known buildings and site of a former school for the blind.

Proposals from premium homebuilder CALA Homes will breathe new life into what was once Edinburgh’s Royal Blind School at Craigmillar Park.

The original C listed Victorian school building has been left empty since closure in 2014 but will now be transformed in 49 highly appealing homes.

Plans were initially submitted by CALA in December 2018 but were later revised following extensive community consultation to reduce building heights, reconfigure key blocks and change some of the materials used.

More recent extensions to the old school building and some surrounding buildings will be demolished which will enable carefully considered new-build homes, with design and materials appropriate for new development within Craigmillar Park Conservation Area.

Craig Lynes, Land Director with CALA Homes (East), said:

“We’ve worked closely with neighbours over the past three years to ensure we create a site that brings benefit to the local area.

“Naturally, we’re thrilled that our plans for this important building have been approved and we’re looking forward to returning the Royal Blind School back to its former glory.

“We’ve carefully considered our proposals so that we can create a development which quickly becomes part of the fabric and adds to the area.

“It’s been crucial to us to engage with members of the local community through a series of events and amend our plans following feedback and we’re pleased that this flexible approach has been appreciated by local people and city planners.”

Currently, the site comprises the vacant school building, swimming pool, Royal Braille Press and a bungalow.

CALA’s plans will see this spilt into 21 apartments created within the school building, a new build flat over the garage, the refurbishment of the gatehouse and 26 new build townhouses.

CALA Homes has a proven track record of taking challenging brownfield redevelopment sites to deliver much needed homes across Edinburgh.

This has included the hugely successful Albert Dock, Kinleith Mill, Trinity Park and Ten Brunswick Road, as well as the Waterfront Plaza in Leith. 

The Royal Blind School was founded in 1835 and the original School building was built in 1874. It later relocated to Morningside after its two campuses were merged in 2014. The Scottish Braille Press relocated to Robertson Avenue in March 2018.

CALA Homes is headquartered in Edinburgh and employs more than 850 people and earned its reputation on the high quality of the homes it builds, which are sensitively designed to augment the areas in which they are located.

The result is homes that are highly sought after and which retain their value over decades, earning loyalty from owners, who often live in a series of CALA properties.