Woodland Consultation and Links for you to Put your View (Deadline Sun 31st March)

Beech

another excuse to wheel out this picture of a fabulous beech tree at Craighouse

The Council are running a consultation on the possibilities of Community or Council ownership of some parts of the Craighouse Site.

As we have stated before, concerns have been voiced to us about the map and the areas outlined and the boundaries – which seems rather closely modelled on the development application. Large parts of Myreside Woods, Craighouse Woods and the East Lawn are being kept away from discussion.

We have been assured by Councillors that the development and this in principle consultation are not directly linked in the Council’s eyes and that the map is for illustrative purposes. We would like to encourage people who care about the site to answer this consultation and not to let the limits/boundaries of the map be a limitation on our positive aspirations for the site.  There is a comments section on the consultation – check out our advice below on what you might include to help with this point, if that is useful for you.

At a meeting of Friends of Craighouse held on 06-Mar-13, the options for ownership of land at Craighouse were discussed and the following position was reached:

 Statement:

Without any prejudice to our opposition to the unacceptable newbuild development proposed on the Craighouse site, the Friends of Craighouse would support either community or public ownership or a combination of the two for all the wooded, green and open spaces currently on the site of Craighouse campus as long as this did not lead to excessive newbuild elsewhere on the site.

The Friends of Craighouse feel that there is sufficient expertise, numbers and commitment within the group to make community management a viable option, or to lend active support to the ranger service, if the site was taken into public ownership.

We are willing to work with Edinburgh City Council and other community groups on the prospect of land transfer and the on-going form of ownership. We wish to state that this commitment does not reflect any acceptance of the boundaries of the five areas shown on the map presented by the Council in their consultation, but does indicate a willingness and firm commitment to work with the Council to achieve long term protection of all the wooded, green and open spaces on the Craighouse site for the benefit of the local communities around the site and the wider public of Edinburgh.

Building on protected open space, woodland and areas of Great Landscape Value and Nature Conservation Sites is against planning policy and the whole of the important and spectacular Craighouse site has enjoyed historic public access for decades, so a long-term management solution for the landscape needs to be found.

Whilst we believe that community or public ownership is in the long-term public interest,  it should be recognised that the community or Council would be taking on the liabilities of the present or future owner and this would also be in the interests of any new residents on the site. Therefore, this should not be used to justify excessive newbuild on the site.

Whether in public or community ownership, the long-term protection of these areas must be legally secured and we are willing to work with the Council on securing this also.

We believe community or public ownership would be both in the long-term public interest and in the interests of any new residents on the site. We are happy to work with the Council towards a workable and positive ownership solution.

The consultation runs to the 31st March. Please fill it in here and circulate to friends and family:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/495/parks_gardens_and_open_spaces/1929/easter_craiglockhart_hill_local_nature_reserve_and_adjacent_lands

Here for going direct to the online survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6NJKKLS

OUR ADVICE:

·         say No to option 1.
·         choose preferred option.
·         think about including a second option in addition to the preferred option.
·         make it clear in the comments section that  map should be  illustrative rather than upper limit
·        make it clear that you oppose the current development plans and that any transfer should not be allowed to justify excessive newbuild on the rest of the site.

You may also refer to our statement and back that up if you wish.

Anyone who didn’t attend the Council’s consultation meeting on this issue at Meggetland (or who did, but remained confused!) there is a second Council Consultation meeting on this issue on the

21st March 2013 at 7pm

Morningside United Church Hall,

15 Chamberlain Road, EH10 4DH

The purpose of the event is to provide information and an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

If you would like to find out more about community ownership there is a very useful page on the Woodland Trust website here:

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/woodwatch/woods-under-threat/Pages/communitypurchase.aspx#.UUB5hlcs41k

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One Response to Woodland Consultation and Links for you to Put your View (Deadline Sun 31st March)

  1. Pingback: Objection Letter to Craighouse Plans from Alison Johnstone MSP | Friends of Craighouse Grounds and Wood

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