The controversial £8 million Accies development in Stockbridge has been approved.
At a packed city council meeting today councillors voted 10 to 2 to overhaul Scotland’s oldest rugby club which will see a 5000-capacity stadium, function centre and retail outlets at Raeburn Place in Stockbridge.
Objectors to the development had cited the size of the planned stadium and the potential threat to Stockbridge traders posed by up to 1780 square metres of retail space as their main concerns.
Planning officials recommended approval of the redevelopment on the condition that any retail shops be limited in size to a maximum 500sq m
Pam Barnes, chairwoman at Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council, said the decision was “immoral” and vowed to launch a judicial review amid claims planning officials were too cosy with Accies developers.
“I’m horrified about how planning is done in this city,” she said. “Retail has big problems anyway but how can they put a shopping mall beside a little row of shops and think it won’t have an effect.”
“I think this is a rich man’s club and I think it’s immoral. They are taking the income stream they need from the local community. I think this is fundamentally wrong.
Gregan Crawford, vice-chair of the Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council, said the development was “in many ways it is a shopping mall with a stadium attachment.”
And he added: “There are large retail areas and I think you can predict the kind of shops that will be there and we will probably be seeing the more metro sized supermarket. It will definitely compete with the boutique shops in the area.
“All theses shops that have survived everything but this will be the final nail in the coffin for them.”
Colin Innes, representing Edinburgh Accies, said the club’s future was bright.
He said: “We are delighted that the committee has looked very carefully at all the planning issues and having considered it have overwhelmingly supported the development. It is good to see the strength of support for the overall benefits that the scheme brings and all the issues were fully ventilated.
“Clearly in dealing with any major development there will be community concerns but one of the key things going forward is working with our neighbours. We have a very good track record of working with the community.
“This means a clear and ambitious future that would give us the best rugby club facilities of any club in Scotland outwith the two professional teams. The quality that we have got to look to is competing with what’s going on down south and you can see that we are falling behind. Our professional clubs are stepping up and now it’s time for the clubs below that level to step up as well.”