Anger as demolition plans for restaurant win support

The popular Earthy restaurant and shop. Picture: Toby Williams

The popular Earthy restaurant and shop. Picture: Toby Williams

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PLANS to demolish a popular restaurant to make way for a controversial new development are being recommended for approval.

Earthy at Canonmills would be bulldozed if councillors accept officials’ recommendation to approve the move despite a determined campaign which has gathered almost 5000 petition signatures calling for the plans to be thrown out.

Objectors said the organic restaurant and food shop, part of the low-rise building at 1-6 Canonmills Bridge, has become a focal point for the community and also brings people into the area.

And they argued the proposed development containing six flats, three townhouses and two restaurants would destroy the character of the conservation area.

Planning permission was issued for the proposed scheme in 2013, but developers need approval for demolition before it can go ahead.

The application is due to be considered at the council’s development management sub-committee on Wednesday.

The site is in the Inverleith Conservation Area, but the building itself, which dates back to about 1860, is not listed.

Ross McEwan, one of the campaigners fighting the development, said: “The proposed replacement building is utterly out of character and oversized.

“Overall it is a ‘bad’ building and typical of new Edinburgh architecture – safe, bland and lazy.

“The economics of the area are important, too. The very nature of Earthy has contributed greatly to the economy of the area. Replacing it with any other type of cafe/restaurant may have a detrimental effect.

“And nine high-end 
residential units will do nothing for the housing needs of the city or the economy of the area, just generate cash for the land owners.”

Inverleith SNP councillor Gavin Barrie said the back of the site could do with tidying up, but argued the existing building was thriving and there was no justification for demolition.

He said: “There were many years when this building was vacant or semi-vacant, but it is now fully occupied and seems to be successful. It is much used and well liked by local people.

“I can understand why developers might want to change the site, but I don’t believe we should be knocking down parts of Edinburgh and rebuilding them when what’s there is perfectly serviceable.”

Cllr Barrie said he had written to the committee asking for a hearing into the application at which the objectors could put their case.

The report by officials to councillors says: “The loss of the building will not have an adverse impact on the 
character or appearance of the conservation area.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com