Green light for transformation of St James church hall site in Portobello

A two-year development programme set to revitalise the St James Church site in Portobello is set to start early next year after phase one of the Edinburgh project was given the go-ahead.

The work will see three family townhouses replace the 1970s’ church hall and car parking area behind the Grade-B listed church on Rosefield Place.

The site was acquired in 2015 after the Church of Scotland made the decision to sell two out of their three local churches and associated halls when falling congregations made operating and maintaining them unviable. The Church Congregation Committee chose a bid that promised a small-scale development sympathetic to the existing style and character of the neighbouring houses.

The developer, Pete Turner, has partnered local architect Sonia Browse on previous small scale developments in conservation areas and sees sensitive yet distinctive design as a cornerstone of his projects.

He said: “From the start we intended this to be a development that enhanced and preserved the style of the area, while being sympathetic to the existing listed church building. The positive feedback we received from consultation with Edinburgh Council, the church committee and residents’ associations throughout the pre-planning phase affirmed our purpose and design objectives, and furthered our confidence that we would achieve planning permission for the site.”

The design of the mews houses is inspired by the ‘linked villa’ style typical of the Brighton and Rosefield area. The garage of each property is set back from the street, joining houses together in a similar way to the single-story wings which link the late-Georgian properties in the neighbouring streets. Elements of the design borrow from the Gothic ‘perpendicular style’ of the church itself.



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BDC 305 Jun 2023