Napier Sells Historic Campus Site For Development

Submitted by edg on Fri, 25 Mar '11 5.03pm

Edinburgh Napier University’s expansive Craighouse campus has been sold for residential development. The leafy, 51 acre site in the Morningside area dates back to the 12th century and has a colourful past as the home of an asylum and the man who introduced skyscrapers to Japan.

The proposed redevelopment by the Craighouse Partnership includes the restoration of the site’s seven Category A listed buildings for residential use, accompanied by a range of new homes.

The development plans will be based around a detailed conservation audit carried out by leading conservation architects, Simpson and Brown, which found that new buildings are possible on a number of discreet sites within the campus boundary without damaging the overall significance of the site.

Professor Dame Joan Stringer, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University said:

"Whilst we will all be sad to leave such magnificent buildings behind, the funds will be re-invested in our estates to provide students with the very best, modern learning environments."

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The University will continue to occupy the site until mid 2013. Students and staff based on the campus have either already moved to the University’s new £60m Sighthill campus or will move to the current Merchiston campus, which is being upgraded over the next two years.

Access to the grounds for members of the public who use it as a recreational facility will be maintained. Weddings and externally hosted events in the main New Craig building, including the Turmeau Hall, will continue as normal until December 2012.

The University purchased the site in 1994 from Lothian Health Board and used it as home for students from the School of Arts and Creative Industries and the School of Health and Social Sciences, as well as administration staff.

Sundial Properties’ Director, William Gray Muir, added: "The plan is to create a broad mix of homes of the highest quality within a wide price range. The site will include a mix of property types and will be sensitive to the history of Craighouse and its grounds.

"We recognise that access to the campus green space is highly valued by the local community and this space is something we will be looking to enhance further.

"As such, we will be inviting relevant stakeholders and residents to form an important Community Liaison Forum in the coming months that will act on behalf of the local community.

"We believe that our plans for the regeneration of the Craighouse campus can deliver a sustainable economic future for this highly sensitive group of buildings and important landscape to ensure their long term preservation."

John Sanders, Simpson and Brown Architects, stated: “These are fascinating buildings with a remarkable story to tell about the enlightened care for mental health at the end of the 19th century.

"Edinburgh Napier University has looked after them well, but I am sure that the use that will sustain this site in the longer term and retain its special character is as houses and flats.”