The Council elections are coming up on 4th May (remember to register to vote).
These local elections will elect people who will represent all of us in our communities going forward. Whilst national politics dominate the headlines, these are not the issues that will be affected by this election. Instead, it will affect our schools, roads, parks, environment, transport. And one of the major things that Edinburgh Council has responsibility for: planning.
The Friends of Craighouse and the people all across Edinburgh who supported the site were hugely disappointed when the planning committee voted in contravention of the numerous planning policies and protections on the site to push through inappropriate and excessive development on Craighouse.
Whilst our local Councillors of all stripes spoke up for us – a block vote of all the Conservatives on the planning committee and many of the Labour Councillors did the most damage. We are not a party political campaign and there are very involved members who support every different party at a national level. However, it’s important for people to know how Councillors voted on this issue as it set precedent for the whole city.
With many Morningside and Craiglockhart Councillors who supported the community (including Paul Godzik, Mark McInnes and Andrew Burns) all standing down at this election, it’s important for Craighouse and if people want to protect other important green spaces such as the Hermitage and Midmar Paddock, to elect Councillors who have a good track record on these issues.
It’s disappointing to see that the Conservatives have chosen as a candidate the ex editor of the Scotsman and Evening News, John McLellan, who used his journalistic platform to support the money-losing developments at Quartermile, Caltongate, along with running article after article pushing over-development at Craighouse. Shying away from his local area, he is running instead in Duddingston, ominously declaring his interest in getting involved in planning matters on the Council in this article in the Evening News.
If you would like a reminder of which Councillors sealed the fate of Craighouse and who voted through unjustified amounts of over-development on a protected site for an offshore investment fund against thousands of objections, here it is:
Voted with the community: Nigel Bagshaw (Green), Maureen Child (Labour), Sandy Howat (SNP), Deirdre Brock (SNP), Ronnie Cairns (SNP), Adam McVey (SNP)
Voted Against the Community for Over-development of Craighouse: Cameron Rose (Conservative), Joanna Mowat (Conserative), Dominic Heslop (Conservative), Ian Perry (Labour), Eric Milligan (Labour – standing down), Angela Blacklock (Labour), Keith Robson (Labour), Frank Ross (SNP), Dennis Dixon (SNP)
We are not a party-political campaign with very involved members who actively support each of the above parties and the Liberal Democrats. However, it’s important people know how Council members vote on issues that affect their areas. You may also remember that some local councillors supported the community at the hearing, but their party colleagues voted the other way. Planning committee hearings are not supposed to divide along party lines.
Update on the development
The development has now been taken over by the Quartermile developers, who are asking for yet more changes:
They are also applying for building warrants, but we see no sign of applications for New Craig, the large listed building that all this was supposed to save.
Based on their applications for building warrants, it looks like they will be doing some of the newbuild first plus some small listed buildings – the ones that are the most profitable and therefore not really part of the “Enabling Development”. There is no sign of applications for the biggest building on the site that this “Enabling Development” was supposed to be about – listed building New Craig.
The developers have some slow-to-update news on the development here: http://www.craighouse-edinburgh.com/news.html