Craighouse plans put on hold after parking U-turn

Napier University's former Craighouse campus. Picture: Greg Macvean

Napier University's former Craighouse campus. Picture: Greg Macvean

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Developers behind the controversial £90 million Craighouse development have pulled their latest proposals after city planners dropped demands for underground parking and expensive stone facades.

Revised plans for the former university campus will be submitted in May with a view to appearing before the planning committee in late summer.

This will be the third set of rejigged plans submitted by the Craighouse Partnership consortium – comprised of Sundial Properties, Mountgrange Investment and Napier University.

Campaigners against the development had expected Scheme Two to be heard by committee on March 19.

Explaining the decision to submit revised plans for a third time, Willie Gray Muir, of Sundial Properties, said discussions with both the council and Historic Scotland had allowed them to use the existing “external parking areas” rather than building underground car parks.

An agreement has also been reached on a requirement for sandstone facades to be used on all sides of the new builds.

He said: “The impact for the site should be entirely positive. Whilst there is still a significant amount of detailed work to be completed, we have agreed with the council that the potential changes were sufficiently important and potentially beneficial to the site as a whole to justify a further revision.

“We obviously regret any inconvenience the change in timetable may cause but hope that everyone will welcome the continuing efforts to find the best possible future for this very important site.”

Local Green councillor, Gavin Corbett, questioned the third revision of an application first submitted more than two years ago.

He said: “People in the community are quite reasonably asking how many times the developer will be allowed to go back and forth and still retain any trust or credibility?

“If the developers really want to get the local community on board they need to be radically reshaping plans to focus on what can be achieved with the existing buildings on the site, leaving the green and wooded areas.”

Planning chiefs have confirmed that the law allows for several revisions to be made on an application.

Scheme Two had featured 64 conversions within the site’s seven existing A-listed buildings and 125 new builds. Campaigners against the development heralded the decision to pull these plans as a “victory”.

Rosy Barnes, of the Friends of Craighouse, said: “The Craighouse Partnership dropped Scheme Two before the planning report and numbers of objections were released. We understand Scheme One had the most individual letters of objection ever received by Edinburgh planning department.”

She added: “It’s about time the council put their foot down and worked with the community to protect this very special place.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com