Here is a summary of the Craighouse Partnership’s new proposals. The photos show areas that would be entirely lost to new-build if the proposals are allowed to go ahead. The proposed areas of building are large, and you only really get a sense of that if you take a map around with you as you go around the site.
This is the largest development of green space in Edinburgh for years. If this is allowed to go ahead, green spaces all over Edinburgh will come under threat.
What was not made clear from the exhibitions is how much of an impact the proposed car parking and roads will have on some of the most beautiful green spaces on the site. And there were no proper pictures of the 2 massive modern blocks opposite New Craig.
They still propose to cover all of the orchard with new-build. There is now a row of 4 storey houses in the front, then gardens, then mews houses, and at the back a road. All this is over the orchard, which the developers themselves refuse to call “the orchard”, instead calling it “the south ridge”. This confused quite a few people at the exhibitions.
This part of the site was officially rejected as unsuitable for development by the council in 2002. It was also rejected as unsuitable for development by the Simpson & Brown conservation audit. Both pieces of information were presented to the developers when they bought the site.
The developers still propose to develop a huge courtyard development at the entrance to the site. It will cover the play-area, trees, and woodland across the entrance road.
Many visitors to the exhibitions described this proposal as “barracks”.
They call this a “car-park” development, but it is much larger than the car-park. If you look carefully at the maps, you can see that the current car-park remains as a car-park. The buildings are proposed to be built around the current car-park.
They do still insist that there is existing planning permission for a car-park in the woods. This isn’t true: it expired 5 years ago, was part-approved when the site was less protected than now, and required a very extensive traffic-reduction scheme to be put in place, so it was allowed to lapse.
This mock-up provided by the partnership clearly shows that you will be able to view New Craig and Old Craig – from a helicopter! From the ground, you’ll just see the new 3-storey blocks. The views of Old Craig from all across the city are a highly important planning consideration in Edinburgh, making this proposal likely to hit very strong opposition from heritage groups, as well as the damage to the wildlife corridor and nature trail. It’s also totally contrary to policies and the local plan.
Blocks of Flats in the Woodland
There are now proposals for 2 blocks of flats in the woodland to to the south of New Craig. The area to the left, including the woods, will be used for these blocks of flats. The path here will have an access road added to the right.
These flats would block views of the buildings from the south side. Past discussions by Napier over development on the site insisted that any development in this area must be low, “sitting into the hill” so as not to block the views of these important historic buildings.
Queen’s Craig Blocks
Around the West and South sides of Queen’s Craig will be large houses. The grass area shown above will become 3 houses and carparking.
The woodland, path and hedge will be under 7 new houses.
These proposals block off Queen’s Craig to the South, as well as building on woodland. They also destroy the beautiful little courtyard in front of Queen’s Craig.
The path here is very popular with people who can’t walk straight through the woods or hill: it’s a relatively flat path suitable for parents with push-chairs, and gives lovely views of both the grounds and buildings. The public will instead be forced onto a new path that goes through the wood, but is behind all the new buildings, so you won’t be able to see the historic buildings that the developers are claiming to care about so much.
There is also a proposal to build a series of “villas” to the North side of New Craig. There is an old boilerhouse here, but the proposed villas cover a much larger area of green space as well.
This will affect the incredible views you get from down the hill up to New Craig. Some of the trees will have to go to make this development posible.
Currently the road in the mock-up is much greener and more rural than the developers are proposing. You can really see from this mock-up and our picture from roughly the same place how they’re really struggling to cope with the complexity and beauty of the site.
With the site being on so many levels, and with narrow winding roads, they are proposing to demolish parts of the listed buildings here to achieve the density of housing they’re looking for.
We spotted (when comparing the photos to their mock-ups) that everything to the right of the balcony on the left here is proposed to be demolished.
We haven’t yet found enough detail to spot other areas proposed to be demolished, but we’re working on it.
This beautiful courtyard, with its summerhouse, is due to become a carpark surrounded by housing with about 20 cars in it.
The green area to the south of New Craig will become a mix of garden and car-parking for about 20 cars. This tree is shown as being removed. And the garden area to the right of this picture will become a main access road.
The area to the West of New Craig is shown as a small garden (without its current tree) and another carpark, with an access road. If you look at the current roads on the site, they are marked as paths in the developers’ proposals. The proposed roads are much larger than the paths and marked separately.
The site’s current carpark will actually remain a carpark. Around the outside homes will be built where the current road is. So the proposed current “car-park” development is mis-named. It’s not going to be built on the car-park at all!
An area of grass to the north-west of New Craig will become a carpark, and lose this tree (shown to the left).
Part of the gardens to the left of Bevan are proposed to become a carpark.
Also, the current round entrance carpark will be extended, leaving only a small part of the current green space left.
This will leave the grand entrance of New Craig as largely a carpark area, instead of the current small round area, with trees and grass all around.
The 2 entrances to the site are proposed to be modified. The Craiglea entrance is too small for the volume of traffic, so will be widened:
The entrance from Craighouse Road is proposed to be moved from its current location to the brow of the hill. This involves opening an entrance through the current wall:
Trees Proposed to be Cut Down
There are a lot of trees on the site that thedevelopers want to chop down and put housing, roads or carparks there instead. We can’t photograph all of them and put them in this post, but here are a few selections:
These are beautiful trees on a beautiful site. All of them are protected by multiple designations, so none of this is allowed under official policies.
If anyone spots anything in the proposals we have missed, then please let us know. Or if you want to submit some of your own pictures, we’ll include them in an updated blog post on the proposals.
The exhibition was so misleading. This all looks awful, specially the trees to be chopped down and the building on the woodlands.
But are there any alternative models of development of the site that can be accepted as economically feasible?
Hi Juliet, there were 6 bidders for Craighouse. Presumably they all had economically feasible plans, or they wouldn’t have bid for the site. If the site was financially unsustainable by following the existing rules, then why would anyone bid to buy it?
Napier chose a bidder that knew what it was buying: that the site is highly protected. But they then decided to threaten to leave the site to go derelict if they didn’t get their way. We have analysed their numbers and found they make a profit and can afford the maintenance just by doing up the existing buildings and selling as residential. They are just trying to see if anyone falls for their trick. Even the funder of the project said there was only capacity for 1/3rd of what they are proposing.
Such an illuminating article – it’s horrifying to see the true impact of what is proposed by these developers who care not one jot about the green space or the protections on it.Our councillors and the community must not be bullied into accepting this.
Very thorough analysis of the proposals. Looks like the developers don’t care what the community thinks. Hopefully our councillors will step in to defend the site.
This must not be allowed to happen. There is so much wrong with this proposed development that i really don’t know where to begin. At the considerable risk of appearing overly sentimental – I learned to ride a bike there. More recently my son hugely enjoyed using a rope swing many, many times in the woods that someone had put up. I’ve kicked a football at craighouse. I’ve had the occasional cool beer on a hot summer’s day there. I’ve loved the view of Edinburgh and beyond countless times from up there. I’ve even gone for the odd romantic walk from time to time. The list is endless. I am expecting councillors/politicians of ALL persuasions to represent the views of their constituents to the full on this one. I am aware that this will not find favour with everyone but if this goes against us i, for one, would advocate some kind of ( entirely non-violent obviously) direct action to make those making decisions understand the true depth of feeling for this magnificent site. It simply must be protected.
Thanks Iain, if you could just start by emailing the people making the decisions, such as Jim Eadie MSP, (post about his survey here: https://friendsofcraighouse.com/2012/04/06/survey-from-jim-eadie-msp/) that would help politicians know local feeling!
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