CCG, in partnership with Parc Craigmillar Ltd, part of the EDI Group, has successfully regenerated the site of the former Niddrie Mill Primary School, Edinburgh, through a stunning mix of Private for Sale and Affordable housing. Of the mixed tenure homes created at the development, 28 are mid-market rent flats for Places for People, 6 are flats for Social Rent for Castle Rock/Edinvar, while 32 Private for Sale properties were also constructed in a mix of flats and houses by CCG Homes which include a block of 17 apartments carefully constructed behind the retained Schoolhouse façade.
Given the historical importance of the former to school to the community of Craigmillar, CCG was challenged with retaining as much of the building as possible. However, due to the age and dilapidated condition of the building, retaining and converting the property in its entirety was commercially unviable and spatially inefficient once taking into account energy efficiency and other building regulations considerations. An alternative arrangement combining ‘old and new’ was ultimately achieved through detailed design work and the application of CCG OSM’s enhanced closed panel timber system. CCG was able to retain the non-listed but valuable façade following extensive retention and preservation work including the locally iconic cupola and weather vane – key recognisable features to the community. The Wauchope War Memorial that resides in the foreground of the school façade was also carefully preserved and is now accompanied with new landscaping.
The challenge of construction behind the Schoolhouse façade gave initial buildability but also specification issues in order to ensure a ‘tenure blind’ and attractive overall design. The house styling was created to allow a consistency of approach and a ‘sense of place’ which was modern and relevant to the area using an appropriate choice of materials and an open plan streetscape. A contemporary, uncluttered approach was adopted with the historic context of the site reflected in the choice of brick for the main material, recalling that of the retained façade, used in conjunction with a limited palette of dark grey window frames and zinc panelling.
Thanks to the use of CCG OSM’s enhanced timber system, a typical terrace of 3 homes (utilised as our show home complex) had its superstructure fully installed in just nine days with the full fit out of each of the plots completed within seven weeks, a key aspect when considering the size of the site, the restricted access arrangements from the heavily congested Niddrie Mains Road and crucially, for our sales strategy. This compounded with an outstanding sales effort ensured the site was fully sold and occupied in just over a year and ultimately allowed the future private homeowners a faster speed of entry.
The scale of CCG’s construction activities brings many benefits, including job creation and regeneration of local areas. This means the Group has a responsibility to ensure that our impact creates a positive legacy and ‘The Schoolhouse’ was no different. Working with our partners in the supply chain, CCG employed three apprentice joiners as a direct consequence of the project, and by working with Edinburgh-based charities (Action for Children and Barnardo’s Edinburgh), also able to offer work placements to five young people who gained experience as general labourers.
CCG/ Places for People/ Castle Rock Edinvar
Scottish Home Awards 2017 Affordable Housing Development of the Year (Private Builders)