"CAR-FREE" development in which tenants will be banned from parking a car anywhere in the Capital has been given the go-ahead by the city council.
The £13 million plan from developers Keyhaven will see 313 student apartments created on the site of the former Marco's Leisure Centre in Grove Street, Fountainbridge. Outside term time, the buildings will be used as self-catering holiday accommodation.
The apartments will be marketed and let as "car-free", with the lease stating occupants will not be able to have a car parked anywhere in the city. This will apply to student and tourist lets, and anyone caught breaking the agreement could face eviction.
The developers believed the area's location near the city centre meant there was good enough access to public transport to allow the development to be car-free. A small number of disabled parking spaces will be provided, as well as cycle storage.
Enforcement will be carried out by the landlords, not the council, although officials will not issue resident parking permits to anyone staying in the development. But local councillor Andrew Burns, the city's former transport leader, said he could see no way of effectively enforcing the car ban.
He said: "While it is easy for the developers to insert this agreement into someone's lease, quite how they will go about actually stopping them having a car in the city is another matter.
"There was little explanation of how they would find out if one of their tenants had a car in Edinburgh, unless the driver was breaking the law, and I think despite this agreement this development will lead to extra traffic and extra parking problems for existing residents."
Almost 100 objections were received about the plans, with residents concerned over potential traffic problems and the number of people living in the Fountainbridge area.
Ann Wigglesworth, secretary of Tollcross Community Council, said people would be disappointed their concerns were overlooked.
"The question is how will this be enforced, because as far as we can see it simply can't be, so we would expect to see more cars in the area as a result of this," she said.
Work on the development, which will also feature a snooker club and bar, is likely to start in spring and is expected to be completed by autumn 2009.
Keyhaven development manager Paul Gillespie said the car-free lease agreement was being used in a growing number of student developments across the UK.
He said: "We have seen at other similar developments that this does work, and it is a legal requirement that tenants do not have a car anywhere in the city.
"We have found that most students now are environmentally aware as it is and so mainly use bicycles or public transport."
Residents had also raised concerns about security around the site, with fears that the flats complex would lead to a rise in antisocial behaviour and noise. The developers confirmed there would be 24-hour supervision on site.
This is a good article and I hope it's successful. Too bad it's in the UK.