Statements from Council Candidates about Craighouse

There is a council election coming up on Thursday 3rd May. We have collected statements from as many of the local council candidates as we can, and here are our edited extracts. Remember that the voting system for this council election lets you make votes in order of preference, so if your first choice doesn’t get in, your second choice vote will count. So, you need to decide your preferences, and not just a single candidate.

Craighouse is a cross-party campaign. We would like to thank all of those who have supported or been helpful to us, the current sitting councillors: Mark McInnes, Andrew Burns, Alison Johnstone and Paul Godzik; and also MSP Jim Eadie and MP Ian Murray  (who are not up for re-election this time). We would like to thank all the candidates for attending a site tour and those who have thoroughly engaged in the issues and we hope that the responses below indicate that this issue will be one where politicians can work together in support of the community and the protection of this very special site.

“If the Council were to permit building across protected Green Space in a Conservation Area there could be very serious implications for Edinburgh’s other protected spaces … The effect of additional cars on the quiet residential roads in the area will be very serious…it is paramount that the principles
of protecting Green Space, put in place for good reason, are upheld
.”Melanie Main, Green, (Meadows and Morningside)

 “We support the Friends of Craighouse in their campaign and are committed to preserving the protected green Open Space and woodland of Craighouse Campus from development and to retaining free public access to this
beautiful historic site so that it can continue to be enjoyed as an amenity by the local community and the people of Edinburgh”
- Andrew Burns (Craiglockhart and Fountainbridge) and Paul Godzik (Meadows and Morningside), Labour

“Craighouse is a special place in the hearts of local people, it is also a
hugely significant site in relation to all of our City’s hills and treasured
green spaces.  I can give my 100% commitment that I will pursue the positive outcome that we all want, whilst having as my first priority the insistence
that there is no compromise to the area’s very special value. The seven
hills should be protected for future generations”
- Sandy Howat, SNP (Meadows and Morningside)

“If I am lucky enough to be elected to represent this area and when a planning application is finally submitted, I will continue to speak to local residents to encourage them to engage with this process so that this development, should it proceed, can do so in consultation with local people. I am not prejudging the proposals, but am concerned about the precedent of allowing development of such a key green space and what impact that would have on the city and am keen to protect public access
Will Searle, Conservative (Craiglockhart and Fountainbridge)
[Updated 1st May]

We regret there is no statement by Jim Lowrie, Liberal Democrats (Craiglockhart and Fountainbridge)
Please see comment below.

“I will prioritise this issue, one of the largest planning applications in the area for many years. I am personally committed to protecting the green space and woodland and am not convinced by the need for the proposed new build development. I am also opposed to the proposed access from Craiglea Place.” - Mark McInnes, Conservative (Meadows and Morningside)

“Over the last 20 years I’ve sledged there with my children, rolled Easter Eggs and enjoyed treasure hunts on the hill.  This is not just another ‘development opportunity’ – it is one of the very precious places that Edinburgh has.  It needs to remain so. So it is absolutely right for Friends of Craighouse and others to ask very searching questions about any development proposals: to test assumptions; and to make developers feel challenged
Gavin Corbett (please click here to read his detailed questions and areas of concern about the Craighouse development  Green (Craiglockhart and Fountainbridge)

Access to, and retention of, our green spaces are two of my priorities and I am working with the Friends, the developers and other local politicians to ensure that any proposed plan will not restrict either. I also want to ensure that the listed buildings at Craighouse are sensitively developed and that the whole project meets the needs of the local community.  I am most certainly against over development of the site.
- David Key, SNP (Craiglockhart and Fountainbridge)

“The views to and from the site are spectacular. I do not believe the current proposals for new buildings and roads respect the setting or justify breaching the integrity of an area of great landscape value that is well used locally for recreational purposes.” - Jenny Dawe, Liberal Democrats (Meadows and Morningside)

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3 Responses to Statements from Council Candidates about Craighouse

  1. Jim Lowrie says:

    The Friends of Craighouse Newsletter expresses regret that “there is no statement from Jim Lowrie” about the controversial proposals for redevelopment of the site”. Other candidates have given their views. My colleague Jenny Dawe expresses Liberal Democrat concern that the plans would damage an area of great landscape and recreational value.
    I informed the chair of the Friends of Craighouse that I am prevented from prejudging any Application which may come to the Edinburgh Council planning committee, of which I am chairman.That is a longstanding convention affecting all members of the committee.
    I have attended and listened carefully to the concerns expressed at meetings called by the Friends of Craighouse. If re-elected to the Council I will continue to play close heed to the future of Craighouse.
    Jim Lowrie

  2. rosyb says:

    Thank you for your comment, Jim.

    The guidelines specifically state that councillors on the planning committee can talk about general principles and strategy, as long as they are not seen to pre-judge a specific proposal. So you can provide a statement generally about protecting green space, and historic buildings. You can also talk about the facts, such as the existing planning designations. It is a serious problem that the developers are telling people there are existing planning consents and allocations on the site, when in fact the site is highly protected and those consents lapsed or never fully completed. As this is one of the most significant developments of highly protected green space this area has had to deal with, surely it is paramount for elected representatives to provide the true facts to their constituents and explain the principles and strategy they might apply, so that those constituents have a proper voice within the system and know how to use that voice. We would be very happy to publish anything you might like to provide in terms of a comment about general principles, strategy and facts.

  3. Pingback: Craighouse: Napier Have Serious Questions to Answer on Sale, Support of Proposals and Financial Interest | Friends of Craighouse Grounds and Wood

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