Plans have been lodged for nearly 300 student flats at a city centre site that had been earmarked for new homes.

Vita Group has lodged plans with CDA architects and Turley for the purpose built student accommodation at New Waverley North in Edinburgh in place of an approved plan for nearly 90 build to rent homes.

The developer said the new plan comes in response to the Scottish Government’s rent freeze, which is a measure partly aimed at easing cost of living pressures.

The previous permission covered 87 homes including three townhouses, and the new application is for 289 student bedrooms, three affordable townhouses and one commercial unit.

Vita Group said: “The site benefits from planning permission for residential development.

“Until recently the intention had been to build out this permission as ‘build to rent’ (BTR) residential accommodation.

“Interest in the site for BTR accommodation was withdrawn, however, when the Scottish Government introduced a ‘rent freeze’ from September 2022.

“The intention is to largely retain the building envelope of the consented development on the site.”

READ MORE: Green light for 3,000 homes

Documents continued: “Student accommodation provides a viable alternative to the consented build to rent use.

“There is an established need for additional purpose-built student accommodation in Edinburgh which the site is situated well to serve in proximity to the University of Edinburgh Academic buildings and other UoE Student Accommodation.

“Vita Student, the group’s most established offering, is widely recognised as an industry-leading student living brand which currently operates across 16 cities in the UK. Edinburgh is one of these cities, already home to a Vita Student residence in Fountainbridge and a second due to open soon in Leith.”

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The chairman of Scottish law firm Burness Paull has signalled hope of an improvement in corporate deal activity now there is more certainty over where interest rates will plateau, following a recent flurry of increases to combat soaring inflation.

Peter Lawson said the surge in the base rate, which has increased from 0.1% in December 2021 to the current 5.25%, has in recent months weighed on transaction levels because there was no visibility over the level at which rates would peak.