Artisan Launches New Standards for Sustainable Homes Development

June 18, 2020

Today’s Scotsman explains more about Artisan’s commitment to sustainable development and our new blueprint for homes that anticipate the changing requirements of people and communities in the wake of Covid-19.

Smart, energy-efficient building design has been matched with an innovative approach to placemaking and community, introducing such creative concepts as green roofs, ‘edible’ gardens and green transport plans. Our aim is to achieve low to zero carbon development – as well as creating a more open and landscaped environment to benefit general health and well-being.

Our blueprint links closely with the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy which aims to make the city carbon neutral within the next ten years. We are now applying our radical design philosophy to two major developments in the city – Canonmills Garden to the north of the city centre and the recently acquired Rowanbank Gardens site.

“The challenges highlighted by the Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated the importance of changing the way we deliver new home development,” explains Clive Wilding, Artisan’s Group Development Director.  “We are now very much going above and beyond the existing Council guidelines as outlined in its ‘Future Edinburgh’ strategy. As well as reducing urban sprawl by optimising the number of people living in well-designed, sustainable homes in low car-use locations well-served by public and ‘self-propelled’ transport, we are also envisaging what people want from their living environment, post-Covid 19.
“Significant emphasis is placed on the quality of internal space and light to create enjoyable home-working environments, whilst accessible gardens and landscaping promote health and well-being by making nature and well-designed outdoor space integral to the day-to-day living experience.”

Rowanbank Garden’s central courtyard garden provides nearly twice the level of open space recommended by council planning policy, filled with fruit trees and communal planting and growing beds. Apartments are designed for open plan living with large windows giving views of the courtyard and the wider area, while green roofs ensure benefits of surface water retention, insulation and ecology.


June 15, 2020

Since submitting our planning application on 1st May, we have continued to engage with Corstorphine Community Council, local Councillors and neighbours. On 19th May we were pleased to be able to take part in the Community Council’s virtual meeting on Skype which was also tweeted live. We’ll continue to respond to questions and provide updated information using the Rowanbank Gardens website.

The Council deadline for making comments on the planning application was 3rd June and we will continue to work with the Council’s Planning team to ensure that issues can be addressed to their satisfaction.  It is still our hope to hold a further community event prior to the determination of the planning application to show how final proposals have addressed initial public feedback. You can continue to get in touch with us at anytime through the contact us page.


We have received some questions about car use and parking and this update provides a high level summary of the Transport Assessment that we have submitted as part of the Planning Application.

Artisan is committed to sustainable development – and this includes the approach we take to residents car use and parking needs.  Modern city living no longer means that every resident owns and uses one or two cars. Council policy going forward is to reduce urban sprawl, improve public transport and active travel choices and encourage dense development on brownfield sites. This is exactly what we are proposing for Rowanbank Gardens.

Artisan is required to comply with Policy in all transport matters. Scottish Planning Policy sets out travel issues for consideration in the following order of priority – pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, private car. The Rowanbank Gardens site is very well connected for those travelling on foot, by cycle, by bus or by rail. Opportunities to reach shopping, employment, education and leisure using non car transport are high.  In addition, new residents will be offered free membership of a car club as well as a personal travel plan to ensure they have accurate and up to date information on public transport and active travel routes.

Car Parking
Policy set out in the Edinburgh Design Guide, 2020 sets maximum parking provision at 1 car space per dwelling, however City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) wish to see sites in areas of high public transport accessibility cut back on private car parking provision.  The recently released document ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’ makes this clear: “Notably that there is potential for zero or very low car parking in areas of high public transport accessibility and that sensitive architectural design and site layouts could achieve higher densities than the prevailing character of an area.”  For some time, CEC have sought to reduce parking provision in development. The 1999 parking guidelines introduced the idea of ‘decoupled parking’, whereby developers could provide fewer parking spaces if these were treated as a separate transaction with people moving into new homes acquiring a parking space only if they wished to own one. Artisan has adopted this approach at our Canonmills Gardens development with take up of parking spaces at around 40% of homes.

As part of the Transport Assessment the Traffic Engineers surveyed all parking in the area – there are currently approximately 238 spaces available in 14 locations near the Rowanbank Gardens site. Three surveys were carried out with the results as follows:

Survey 1 – March 6th, 1730 122 spaces occupied = 51% of total
Survey 2 – March 21st, 1900 134 spaces occupied = 56% of total
Survey 3 – March 22nd, 1900 130 spaces occupied = 55% of total

Further surveys had to be curtailed due to COVID 19 lockdown. Our conclusion is that existing car parking in the area is slightly more than half full. At Rowanbank Gardens – 50 spaces are proposed = 40% (i.e. 50 spaces for 126 apartments). However, an extra 4 car club spaces are also planned. The presence of car club vehicles reduces the need to own a car meaning a reduction in general parking provision can also be achieved. The Council puts a ‘value’ on a car club space of between 6 – 10 normal spaces meaning provision of 4 car club spaces equates to 24 – 40 “normal” spaces. This equates to an overall provision of between 74-90 spaces at Rowanbank Gardens.

It should be noted that CEC have already commented that census data covering the area shows that car usage is closer to 35% so it is likely that CEC will seek to maintain parking provision at this site (and others in well served public transport areas within easy reach of facilities by foot or cycle) at lower levels.

Traffic Generation
The Transport Assessment demonstrates that the number of new car trips Rowanbank Gardens residents will generate can be acceptably accommodated on the existing roads.  Estimates of car trips are made for the morning and evening rush hour. Traffic surveys demonstrate that the busiest time is between 8am and 9am and 5.15pm-6.15pm.

Using national transport guidance a total of 22 car trips are predicted during the morning rush hour and 26 during the weekday PM peak hour. However, the traffic engineers also use other methods to double check predicted numbers. Using census data, we know that a third of people in this area travel by car in rush hour. This is backed up by the traffic survey. This equates to approximately 44-46 additional cars using the roads.

We know that surrounding roads are busy. However, the development will not generate significant new traffic with the estimate being between 22 and 46 additional rush hour journeys. The Transport Assessment calculations used the higher number and also didn’t remove the trips associated with the previous care home meaning that a worst case scenario has been tested.


May 29, 2020

Growing your own food

Growing your own food

Space for play

Space for play

Artisan is committed to undertaking developments in a sustainable way that contributes positively to improving sustainable lifestyles. Our Sustainability objectives include:

Reuse of brownfield land and buildings, located in city and town centres with access to good public transport links and local amenities.

Recycle and reuse existing buildings and waste materials on site where possible.

Design landscape and amenity spaces for the benefit of new residents.

Respect local history and heritage, embracing it within new developments.

Reduce carbon from a design and technical philosophy of “less first”- focus on fabric and the need to use less energy and water to service buildings.

Low carbon heating and hot water via air source heat pumps.

Encourage the use of green roofs for the benefit of surface water retention, insulation and ecology.

Undertake extensive light modelling of the designs to ensure daylight is maximised for occupants.

Encourage reduction in car use within the development by providing adequate secure bike storage and personal Green Travel Plans for regular commutes. Electric charging points will be provided for cars and bikes.

Encourage home working through the provision of working rooms with the best broadband available.

Leave a community legacy through a residents’ website with external meeting spaces. Encourage secure and neighbourly layouts with natural surveillance.

Rowanbank Gardens has been driven by an inherently sustainable approach with initiatives including:

Housing for All – providing a range of apartment types and tenures, including 25% affordable housing. Over a third of proposed apartments are three bedroom family homes, exceeding the requirements of the Edinburgh Design Guidance.

Landscape – creating a fundamentally well designed outdoor space for residents to use. Creating opportunities for residents to establish a community is an important part of a truly sustainable landscape design. As is the use of materials from local sources and with a low carbon footprint. This includes selecting trees and plant material which are resilient and native species where possible.

Sustainable Placemaking – by choosing high quality, durable and natural materials incorporating green roofs and extensive planting to increase biodiversity and visual amenity.

Designed to Optimise Amenity – focussed around a central courtyard garden which provides nearly twice the level of communal open space recommended by policy. The majority of apartments have private gardens or generously proportioned balconies. Apartments are designed for open plan living with large windows giving views of the courtyard and wider area and allowing daylight deep into the plan.

Access for All -The proposals meet the standards of inclusive design, creating an inclusive environment for use by a large variety of people and building in provisions to accommodate beyond this by facilitating further adjustments within the design.

Active Travel – A Green Travel Plan has been established that prioritises active travel over car use in this well connected part of the city. Cycle parking provides
safe, secure spaces for a range of bikes.

Daylighting -Careful consideration has been given to maximise daylight and sunlight to both existing neighbouring properties and the proposed apartments. The development complies with all criteria of daylight and sunlight Design Policy.

Energy Use  The development includes low and zero carbon technologies. The proposal complies with the requirements of planning Policy DES 6 (Sustainable Buildings) meeting all essential measures of the S1 Sustainability Assessment.


Future Edinburgh

Future Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh Council has set an ambitious target for Edinburgh to be carbon neutral by 2030 and is currently developing two long-term strategies to support this.

Choices for City Plan 2030 sets out options for how the city could be developed sustainably over the next ten years.
City Mobility Plan proposes radical changes as to how people and goods move around the city.

Artisan is committed to the highest standard of sustainable development. We are aware of the challenge of balancing delivery of the 2030 City Plan: where new development should reduce urban sprawl and optimise the number of people living in well designed, sustainable, homes in well served, non-car, transport locations.

Future Edinburgh proposes that sites like Rowanbank Gardens should accommodate a minimum of 100 dwellings per hectare. Our proposal for 126 homes, supports this policy.

There is also an ambition that Edinburgh will be a city where you don’t need a car to move around. We want our developments to support this aspiration which is why we choose sites that are well located for public transport: Rowanbank Gardens is extremely well connected for those on foot or cycle – quiet cycle route 9 passes to the south of the site. Public transport services are available with easy walking distance and the local primary school is an 8 minute walk away. We will also offer new residents car club membership further reducing the number of cars and car parking spaces required.

Our approach to design includes low and zero carbon generating technology through either a communal heat system with centralised rooftop air sourced heat pumps (ASHP) or electric panel heaters with ASHPs providing domestic hot water and rooftop photovoltaic panels. We also design in space and light to support home working.

Rowanbank Gardens is a great example of how new homes will look and function in a Future Edinburgh.


May 28, 2020

City of Edinburgh Council continues to update citizens and developers on the ongoing changes to the planning service as we all adapt to the restrictions needed during the COVID -19 outbreak.

The Council’s most recent update was on Friday 22nd May and included information on the first virtual Development Management Committee with the Convenor advising of the importance of the meeting happening for both democratic oversight and to aid the construction sector in what it likely to be a difficult period post lockdown.

Separately, the Scottish Government has enacted emergency planning guidance including guidance on pre-application consultations for public events where applicants are expected to replace the requirement to hold a physical public consultation event with alternative consultation measures using web based approaches.

We were able to hold a physical public event for Rowanbank Gardens before lockdown. However, our planned second event has had to be postponed. We have had the opportunity to ‘virtually’ meet Corstorphine Community Council twice now. The initial video meeting occurred on 31st March where we were able to present progress to date. At a follow up meeting on 19th May we were able to explain how designs have taken account of public comments.

We will continue to liaise with the Community Council and local residents and businesses to ensure open and transparent discussions as the planning application progresses. We are still hopeful of holding a second physical consultation event prior to the application being determined.


May 1, 2020

On Friday 1st May we submitted our planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council for 126 apartments – including 25% affordable – to provide a mix of one, two and three bedroom homes.

The homes have been designed around a large internal garden which will be landscaped to provide community and planting space as well as natural children’s play, a woodland area and a more formal lawn. All ground floor apartments will have private garden or balcony space and many of the upper apartments have balconies overlooking the gardens.

Rowanbank Gardens reflects our approach of regenerating brownfield sites with good public transport links, promoting car-free city living through generous secure cycle parking and providing City Car Club membership.

There has been strong interest in the proposals from Corstorphine residents who want to downsize and stay in the area and from families looking for more space.

The planning application follows a period of public consultation with local people, businesses and community groups including a well attended public exhibition on the 26th February. We had to cancel our second consultation event due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are planning to hold a further community event prior to the determination of the planning application, to show how final proposals have addressed initial public feedback. This information is also available in the consultation-report.

Aerial view of the site

Aerial view of the site

CGI of Rowanbank Gardens

CGI of Rowanbank Gardens


April 10, 2020

We’ve added a new “FAQ” (frequently asked questions) section to the website. This provides feedback to the community comments and questions we received at our February consultation event and online.

In response to Covid 19, the Scottish Government has enacted emergency planning guidance ( further details can be seen here ) that prohibits face to face pre-application consultation for now and for a temporary period going forward. Therefore, we are unable to hold a second consultation event at this time. As soon as restrictions are lifted, it is our intention to host a further consultation event prior to planning determination. if this period carries on for too long we will try through technology , to undertake a virtual consultation.

For all updates and information please keep in touch with this website will be updated regularly and you can contact us for further information at any time.


March 19, 2020

Due to the Coronavirus, following government guidance we have decided to postpone the second consultation event that was scheduled for 25th March 2020. We will try to rearrange a second date, failing that we will communicate with the community via this website. For more information please contact us. We will post monthly updates on this website.


February 26, 2020

Artisan Real Estate is consulting on proposals to build new homes on the site of the former Gylemuir Care Home, Corstorphine. The proposal is to provide a range of distinctive one, two and three bedroom garden apartments to meet the need for new homes in the ever popular Corstorphine village. Designs are at an early stage with the local community and stakeholders being invited to shape the proposals. A drop in event was held in Corstorphine Hub at 191 St John St on 26th February from 1pm to 8pm where Artisan and the design team were on hand to discuss initial ideas and hear views. A further event for 25th March has been organised. Artisan is an award-winning UK property developer and is proud to create places that people want to live, work and spend time in. We are responding to the need for fresh thinking in delivering sustainable homes for the capital. Our designs are low carbon with an emphasis on car free city living by providing our residents with car club access and extensive secure bike parking.

Rowanbank Gardens Logo

Proposals to create distinctive, bright and spacious one, two and three bedroom homes around a large internal garden.

    In response to Covid 19, the Scottish Government has enacted emergency planning guidance. Therefore, we are unable to hold a second consultation event. It is our intention to host a further consultation event prior to planning determination. If restrictions continue, we will try to undertake a virtual consultation.

    This website will be updated regularly and you can contact us for further information at any time.