Jim Eadie, MSP for Edinburgh Southern, has revealed that 90% of respondents to his survey are opposed to the excessive proposals at Craighouse and has called for them to be abandoned.
His support is thoroughly welcomed by the Friends and is part of a growing number of voices that are rising in opposition to the Craighouse plans – including resolutions and statements from Morningside and Merchiston Community Councils and The Woodland Trust; tough statements from MSP Alison Johnstone and MP Ian Murray plus sitting Councillors Andrew Burns, Mark McInnes and Paul Godzik; plus a recent letter of opposition to the development from the Cockburn Association.
We will be posting a number of statements from Council candidates this weekend.
Yet, despite the growing groundswell of opposition, a “spokesperson” for The Craighouse Partnership arrogantly dismissed the opposition out of hand in this article in the Evening News and merely resorted to their usual disgraceful argument about letting the site fall into dereliction if they don’t get their way – despite their legal obligations to look after the site and despite knowing all the protections and restrictions on the site when they bought it. This is no argument in terms of planning law or morality – and merely raises the question of why Napier sold it to people who are willing to make this threat in the first place – rather than one of the other 5 viable bidders. (We note, with interest, that the Craighouse Partnership’s “spokesperson” does not put their actual name to these comments.)
Jim Eadie, however, is very clear. In a statement he said:
“The survey results make it absolutely clear that there is very widespread opposition to what is proposed by the Craighouse Partnership. Having read through all the responses, it is certain that they represent a careful and thoughtful rejection of proposals that run roughshod over Edinburgh Council’s Local Plan. Many of the responses acknowledge that redevelopment of the existing buildings at Craighouse would preserve them for future generations to enjoy – something that would be welcomed. However, the message from residents is that the loss of greenspace for newbuild is far too high a price to pay.
“Repeatedly residents have asked the valid question – what sort of precedent does this set for other greenspace in Edinburgh? Craighouse Campus and Easter Craiglockhart Hill, one of the seven hills of Edinburgh, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and amenity that provides stunning panoramic views across the city and beyond. If the developers can build here, where is next?
“Some respondents would accept small scale, appropriate and discreet newbuild housing. But residents have seen enough of the plans to conclude that this is not what the partnership has in mind. And the Craighouse Partnership has failed to persuade them that all these new dwellings – 116 of them – are necessary to meet the costs of maintaining the old buildings.
“While the Craighouse partnership have argued that new build on this site is critical to the project’s commercial viability I believe the scale of what is proposed is excessive and the business and financial case unproven. A significant number of responses to the consultation commented on the lack of detailed financial information available.”
While the loss of greenspace is the main concern for most of respondents, a number of other concerns have also been raised. These include –
- Concerns about the location of access roads into the site including Craiglea Place;
- The consequences for traffic and parking in surrounding streets such as Craiglea, Morningside Grove, Morningside Drive, Myreside Road and Craighouse Road;
- Particular concerns about the proposal to build town houses on the orchard;
- The effect of development on local schools that are already full to capacity;
- Scepticism about the ability to guarantee public access to the site in the future; and
- Concerns on the loss of biodiversity and harm to wildlife.”
Mr Eadie continued:
“I am grateful to residents for taking the time to set out their concerns. I have been impressed not only by the volume of survey responses but by the obvious care which local people have taken in considering the issues at stake for their community.
“I received many heartfelt personal testimonies from local residents making it clear just how much they value and treasure this site. This major greenspace in the city has been used and loved by hundreds of local families for generations. Families, walkers, children, sledgers, dog walkers, as well as people from further afield”.
Mr Eadie concluded:
“The overwhelming view expressed by local residents is clear and emphatic in its opposition to these plans. As the local MSP I am determined to ensure that the views of my constituents are not only heard but acted upon.
“Any proposed development must have the confidence and support of local people. It is clear from this survey that there is little if any public confidence in The Craighouse Partnership’s proposals.
“There is currently no planning permission in place and as the local MSP I will vigorously oppose any planning application based on these proposals.”
The Friends would like to applaud Jim Eadie for his thorough examination of the Craighouse proposals and the care he has taken to consult with the local community and – most importantly – listen to them. His stated commitment to represent and act for them is very welcome and to be commended. We hope all our elected representatives can come together on this key issue for the city and show that our seven hills and important green spaces are not open for exploitation by developers and their lobbying companies.