Just to let you all know that the hearing date for the planning sub-committee to make their decision on the Craighouse application has now moved. It was originally March then to be in June but the New Hearing Date: 14th August. This is due to yet another processing agreement being signed between the Council and the developers to continue talks to try and “revise outstanding issues”. We can only guess that this means things can’t be going as smoothly for the Craighouse Partnership as they would like. However, it remains frustrating that an application that is so clearly unreasonable is not just thrown out directly. The planning system since the 2006 act has become extremely front-loaded – giving rise to these kind of behind-closed-doors protracted situations where the community does not know what is going on.
Getting your head around the planning system can take months, even years. The Council has just published its new Proposed Local Development Plan. (Note, consultation period for this runs until 5pm on Friday 14 June 2013. See City of Edinburgh Council site for details.) This sees large areas of Green belt proposed for housing. Not only this but the Council are consistently failing to protect our urban green spaces and protected sites. The new Council administration came in with commitments towards green space – yet there has been nothing done to protect green space so far at all – in fact, the reverse.
Our planning system is being eroded – policies are not being applied and developers are winning appeals to build across protected green wildlife sites against the Local Plan. Meanwhile our brownfield sites – many of which already have planning permission – lie abandoned and rotting.
What is going on?
We look at the wider issues in this article published by Product Magazine. If you care about green space, your local park, the greenbelt or nature sites – please read to understand a bit about what is going on and why standing up to be counted is so important. The public have resisted so far at Craighouse – we need to continue to stand up and be counted for the sake of Craighouse and all the other important sites that are now coming under threat – and here’s why.
Here is a brief extract:
Standing at Craighouse on a spring day – with the cherry trees in flower and the sweeps of daffodils nodding, the heart sinks at the thought of what is about to happen. The proposals are excessive and extremely ugly. Woodland will be ripped out for institutional-style modern blocks. Where the kids play football on grass under the flowering cherry and memorial trees, the green space will disappear to become just one part of a large housing estate. Ugly newbuild will ruin the sensational views. New roads and hundreds of car-parking spaces are proposed for this peaceful, wildlife-filled nature conservation site. Approximately 70 trees (we estimate more) and countless shrubs will be ripped out on a site where all the trees have the equivalent of Tree Preservation Orders. Habitats of protected species are to be destroyed.
The Craighouse Partnership claims the listed buildings are unviable to develop without all this luxury new-build – yet for two years they have refused to release credible financial information to support this. The sheer number of companies involved – including Sundial Properties, Mountgrange, Napier University, agents, several architects and lobbyist Invicta PA should give an idea of what profits they expect to make. The site was protected when they bought it and they knew then they were not allowed all this new-build. So, why are we in this position?