CAMPAIGNERS fighting a development in a city beauty spot have branded a community forum set up to find common ground “a pointless PR exercise”.
The Friends of Craighouse group made the claim following the second meeting of the Craighouse Community Liaison Forum (CCLF), which was pitched by Sundial Properties and Mountgrange Investment as a round-table discussion between the developers and local campaign groups.
Rosy Barnes, whose group has compiled a petition signed by more than 4000 locals, said public consultations showing 116 homes, rather than the original 110, on the former Edinburgh Napier campus had already begun.
She said: “The developers have continually stated that they wish to listen to local concerns on this matter but how are we expected to believe that our views are being taken on board when the plans have already been expanded and are to go on show the very next day.
“A lot of big questions still remain unanswered by Sundial Properties. I feel the forum is a bit of a pointless PR exercise more than anything.
“The developers could have used the forum as an opportunity to consult with the local community on finding a mutually acceptable way forward for the Craighouse site. Instead they chose to push through ever increasing new-build on some of the most highly protected green space in Edinburgh.”
Sundial Properties, however, has hit back and believes the forum, which is independently chaired by Rev Derek Browning of Morningside Parish Church, has been a success.
Director William Gray Muir said: “The meeting was well attended by community groups and there was a lively discussion where we were able to answer questions submitted by the various stakeholders.
“We were also able to offer everyone a chance to preview our public consultation materials which are on display for the public to see this week.”
The first public consultation meeting took place last night in the Eric Liddell Centre, while the second takes place today from 2pm-8pm at Boroughmuir RFC, Meggetland Sports Pavilion and the third on Saturday, from 10am-4pm in Old Craig, Craighouse Campus.
Meanwhile, Morningside Community Council has now passed a resolution to object to the development on any area designated as open space or of “great landscape value”.
Morningside Community Council chairwoman Jean Thompson said: “This resolution was very near passed unanimously.
“We had thought it best to take a neutral position regarding this development. However, as time has gone on and more of the plans were made public this position has changed.”
Company raises derelict building fears
DEVELOPER Sundial Properties has cited a now-derelict former council property as an example of what could happen at Craighouse if development does not go ahead.
Redhall House in Craiglockhart, which was a children’s home for many years before being turned into a training centre for council staff, currently lies empty and has attracted vandalism in recent years.
A solution for the site seems to be on the way, though, after Miller Homes was this week granted planning permission to erect eight detached villas with associated garages/offices in the grounds.
However, permission has only been granted subject to archaeological work being first carried out on the site.
According to John Lawson, curator of archaeology at the Museum of Edinburgh, the site may contain remains of an old Roman road and the mansion also stands on a historic site with connections to Oliver Cromwell’s army.
References to Redhall date back to the 13th century, with the name believed to refer to the original Red Hall Tower that was built from local red sandstone. After Cromwell launched his attack on Scotland in 1650, his forces took up a position on Braid Hill. They stormed and captured the old tower, which was laid to waste.