Much was made by the Craighouse Partnership and others at the hearing about the flooding measures that were to be put in place (despite a flood report that has declared itself “disappointed”).
Now, we learn, just months after the decision, the Craighouse Partnership are trying to wriggle out of the flood condition. An application to vary document (made very difficult to find on the portal – despite the fact it relates directly to the original application) shows that in March the Craighouse Partnership applied to have a series of conditions, including the flood condition changed so that the Head of Planning could agree a lesser flood-prevention scheme – without oversight by the planning committee, without consultation and without public scrutiny.
If you feel a sense of déjà-vu, you may recall that a decade-old consent for a large university building was made permanent by the Craighouse Partnership by “digging a trench”. This also happened without public knowledge or scrutiny from the planning committee.
So are we again seeing the Craighouse Partnership trying to waive expensive and inconvenient conditions to allow them to “activate” the consent to gain planning permission in perpetuity in order to raise the land value to sell the site?
Diggers have moved onto the site and are currently ripping apart the carpark and areas near the listed buildings. We believe this is due to the “archaeological” condition, which they would also need to meet before they could “activate” the consent.
Grand promises at hearing dashed within months
Why are the Council discussing removing or downgrading the important conditions that they themselves imposed just a few months ago with the developer? There is no reason given. Surely this would be completely irresponsible when the flood risk has not changed in the surrounding area and the flooding problem of Balcarres St and Craighouse Gardens (and Myreside) has been extreme in recent years.
(Floods in Balcarres St. reproduced from Flickr – Chris Hill photostream – under a Creative Commons License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/. Click for link.)
Here is what the application to vary the condition states:
“We write with regard to the terms of Condition 14 of the above planning permission, which notes:
“The surface water discharge shall be decreased to a level no more than 8.41l/s to accord with the levels previously agreed to satisfaction of the Head of Planning and Building Standards.”
We propose to vary the terms of Condition 14 as follows:
“The surface water discharge shall be decreased to a level no more than 8.41l/s to accord with the levels previously agreed, or to the satisfaction of the Head of Planning and Building Standards.”
We do not consider this variation to be material and request your written confirmation that this approach would be acceptable to you.”
That “or” allows the Head of Planning to accept an alternative level of flood-prevention. No level of flood-prevention is being requested, just the right of the Head of Planning to accept some new level of flood-prevention as proposed by the Craighouse Partnership. Clearly, the Craighouse Partnership are confident that the Head of Planning will accept a level of flood prevention that matches less than the previously-required minimum.
This application is not being made available for neighbours (particularly those on Balcarres St and Craighouse Gardens who would be most affected) to comment on. And it is not being put before the planning committee. Instead, it is being decided internally by officials, even though this application is changing promises made to the planning committee and public at the Craighouse hearing.
PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLORS TO ASK THEM TO OBJECT TO FLOOD CONDITION BEING CHANGED
If you don’t want flooding on Balcarres St and Craighouse Gardens to get worse, then write to your local councillors and ask them to object.
What can we do to save the site? Save Craighouse Fighting Fund reaches First Target – you can help.
Here is the donation page for the Save Craighouse Fighting Fund in order to take this case to Judicial Review. Spread the word to those that love Craighouse and other protected sites in our city. We’ve already surpassed our initial 8k target for the first stage and now need to raise the rest. More info on the fighting fund page.