The site, which has been operated by Marco’s Leisure for 23 years, includes listed and unlisted former auction mart buildings and livestock sheds that are over 120 years old.
Proposals for new homes for rent alongside facilities for the wider community have been submitted to City of Edinburgh Council.
The proposed mixed-use brownfield development will comprise primarily of build-to-rent (BTR) apartments, including at least 25% affordable homes. In addition to this will be a limited level of managed student accommodation (occupying approximately 25 per cent of the floorspace of the development) and community facilities.
Watkins Jones said that it was sensitive to local concerns about the loss of the facilities but that independent assessments show that to bring the buildings up to standard would be an unsustainable burden and cost for any organisation. The current buildings require constant maintenance, repair and upgrades. It said that development of the site will ensure their long-term future, with a significant proportion of frames retained and incorporated into the overall development.
Marco’s Leisure wants to deliver new sporting facilities rather than maintain what is becoming an impossible task, said the developer. The company is in discussions with the council to explore alternative options for sporting facilities in the west of the city.
The proposed BTR apartments will comprise a mix of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats. The plans include a communal lounge, exercise facilities, management suite and reception, bike storage and large shared kitchen as well outdoor spaces including a large central public square.
The development is proposed as a car-free scheme with parking limited to accessible parking only, and residents will be encouraged to use public transport and active travel links.
The student housing portion of the building will also offer communal amenity spaces, bike storage, a management suite and reception areas.
Eve Ladden Timbers from Watkin Jones said: “Our planning application for this new development at Chesser will create a thriving and diverse community as part of an overall redevelopment of the area.
“There is a massive shortage of homes for people to rent in the capital and through our build-to-rent, affordable and student homes these proposals will create much-needed places for people to live on a brownfield site.
“We have heard and understand people’s feelings about the football pitches but know that these are unsustainable in their current form due to the condition of the buildings. We will continue to listen to the community throughout development.
“We are aware that discussions are being held to look at alternative options for new sporting facilities.”
Paul Demarco from Marco’s Leisure said: “Investment in recent state of the art facilities, such as World of Football at Marine Drive, show what we can offer through delivering far more viable spaces without the ongoing cost that old out of date buildings unfortunately provide.
“As we are finding, it is proving near impossible to provide quality and affordable facilities under a nineteenth century livestock shed. To address this, we are currently in the process of discussing possibilities for the delivery of facilities on future sites in the west of the city with agents and City of Edinburgh Council.
“As a family business we have a long-term commitment to Edinburgh, and as the baton is passed on from the third to fourth generations of the family, who will be active for many years to come, we are dedicated to delivering high quality affordable leisure and sports facilities.”