CAMPAIGNERS fighting a major revamp of Scotland’s oldest rugby club have had their efforts to stop the development punted into touch – after being told their case would not sustain a judicial review.
Scottish QC Roy Martin is understood to have told those opposed to the £8 million overhaul of Edinburgh Accies’ Stockbridge ground that their arguments for a review of the planning approval were not strong enough.
The council’s planning committee voted in favour of the project in August, paving the way for the Raeburn Place venue to become a state-of-the-art sports hub boasting a 5000-capacity stadium, new clubhouse and heritage museum.
Opponents who have been railing against the development’s size – and the threat they say the new retail space poses to local businesses – had consistently claimed the planning approval process had been flawed.
However, Save Stockbridge chairman Bruce Thompson has conceded: “In the main, we’ve been advised that we haven’t got a case for judicial review.”
The campaign group hosted a meeting in Stockbridge on Monday attended by more than 100 people. Mr Thompson said: “Everybody was very upset at that news because there are a lot of people against this thing. But we’ve raised a considerable amount of money from the local people and they are all prepared to continue putting money in and want us to continue in our fight.”
Mr Thompson hinted that campaigners were exploring further options to challenge the development, including speaking with MSPs and councillors.
Construction work is expected to start early next year. Accies executive chairman Frank Spratt said: “We’re putting all the final agreements with the council together and we’re just pushing on as quick as we can.”
Douglas Roberts, chairman of pro-development group Supporting a Flourishing Stockbridge (SFS), said: “We don’t want any delays in this development taking place because of the huge benefits we see, in particular creating jobs.”
THE QC paid to give legal advice to campaigners challenging the Edinburgh Accies development is no stranger to high-profile cases.
Roy Martin was appointed in April to oversee an independent investigation into former Rangers owner Craig Whyte’s claims of links to the cash-strapped club. The probe has been commissioned by the Ibrox board.
Mr Martin is a specialist in commercial and administrative law, and a member of the Terra Firma chamber in Edinburgh.
The legal eagle has been involved in some of Scotland’s most significant planning investigations, including the Gyle retail park and Princes Street Galleries inquiries.