CAMPAIGNERS against an £8 million redevelopment of the Edinburgh Accies rugby ground have vowed to continue fighting after licensing leaders ruled that it could sell alcohol until the early hours of the morning.
Four applications – which cover the ground as well as a planned restaurant, grocer and ice-cream parlour – have been given the green light.
The move will allow customers to purchase drink until 1am – extended to 3am during the Festival and over Christmas and New Year.
A closing time of 10pm will apply to the ice-cream parlour and retail business.
Accies leaders – who previously warned that failure to grant licences would undermine the club’s ability to boost grassroots sport – said their development would host high-quality tenants. But objectors warned that noise, antisocial behaviour and a concentration of licensed premises would have an adverse impact on residents.
Nick Evans, a member of Save Stockbridge, said: “We have not given up – we will be meeting next week to plan our next moves and response in our continued campaign against this development project.”
Resident Bruce Thompson, 70, said: “More and more, this whole thing is becoming a business development and a venture to make money – it’s going to be something totally alien to the whole area.
“The developer is trying to kill off Stockbridge. It’s probably the only remaining village in Edinburgh, and we’re going to lose that.”
Gregan Crawford, vice-chair of Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council, said: “It was unnecessary for them to give carte-blanche approval for everything that was asked for in advance of the facility being built.
“People who live there moved in the knowledge it was a quiet conservation area – this rides a coach and horses through that.”
Political leaders have also criticised the decision.
Sarah Boyack, Labour Lothian MSP, said she was “deeply disappointed”, adding: “I am particularly concerned about the issue of late-night noise caused by potentially thousands of people leaving the facilities after 10.30pm and of the impact of the different licensed premises given permission which will be able to operate until 3am during festive periods.”
Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi, of the SNP, said: “My constituents were concerned about the impact of a large licensed venue in what is a residential area. I expect that the local community will be dismayed at this decision.”
But city bosses stressed it was their task to judge applications on the basis of whether bids are likely to breach licensing objectives on issues such as public health and safety.
Councillor Eric Milligan, licensing leader, said: “Personally, I do not think, notwithstanding the strength of feeling brought forward, that there’s any view that we should not be supportive of this application.”
A legal spokesman for Accies said: “This is a facility for the wider community, not restricted to members of the Accies club.
“Ultimately, this is a proposal [for a] sustainable development [and] to support sport and support young people. These are good applicants and this is a good application.”
Plan to provide sport and shopping boost
THE £8 million re-development of the Edinburgh Accies ground will provide a range of sporting and leisure facilities.
Blueprints include plans for a stone and glass structure just under the height of the Victorian tenements opposite, with retail units running along Comely Bank Road.
On the other side of the structure, there is seating for 2500 fans and standing room for a further 2500. The plan also contains proposals for conference venues and a rugby museum.
Accies leaders previously said the development would secure the club’s future and allow it to continue its community rugby scheme, which has offered training to local high schools.