Granton Sur Mer: lease gaffe sinks cycle lane plan

Ross McEwan and Shaeron Averbuch at the fenced-off cycle path and picnic area on West Granton Shore Road.    Picture Ian Rutherford
Ross McEwan and Shaeron Averbuch at the fenced-off cycle path and picnic area on West Granton Shore Road. Picture Ian Rutherford
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AN ambitious project to breathe new life into Granton waterfront has been scuppered by a council land blunder.

The community group behind the Granton On Sea scheme – previously known as Granton Sur Mer – says the plot where it wants to build a lido was mistakenly added to the lease for a neighbouring warehouse when it was renewed two years ago.

Any plans for the waterfront are ruined until 2105 unless they get the lease back off the guy.

Ross McEwan

It also claims the council got the date on the lease wrong, making it 2105 instead of 2015.

And now the warehouse owner has put up wire fencing across a £250,000 cycle path which runs through the land and plans to use it as a car park.

Ross McEwan, of the Granton Improvement Society, said: “The council is trying to talk the man into moving his fence so they can get the cycle path back, but he is saying ‘Why should I?’

“No-one is admitting who made the mistake. Any plans for the waterfront are ruined until 2105 unless they get the lease back off the guy.”

The Granton On Sea project, first unveiled nearly six years ago, would centre on three plots around West Shore Road and feature an annual garden festival, an arts village with studios created from old sea containers and a public outdoor swimming pool.

Mr McEwan said the plot at the centre of the blunder was just scrub land.

He said: “It was seen as a flytipping site for years. We thought the lido would bring it back into use and everyone seemed to agree it was a good idea.”

He said the group had received £20,000 lottery money towards architectural fees and feasibility studies for the project, but that was now wasted because the land for the lido was no longer available.

“The council spent £250,000 realigning the cycle path on the scrub land and making a picnic area on the corner looking out over the Forth, all done assuming ownership of the land was with the city,” he said.

The council dismissed the claim about the date of the lease as “nonsense” but admitted there had been “confusion” over whether or not the site was part of the leased-out land.

A spokeswoman said: “The council built the 1.3km-long promenade between Gypsy Brae and Granton beach in 2009. A small portion, about 50 metres, of the paving is on leased-out land and earlier this year, the current leaseholder opted to cordon part of the path off.

“The council has ensured the route remains fully accessible for pedestrians and cyclists but new surfacing will be put down in the spring to even out the path.”

Warehouse owner Philip Smith could not be contacted.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com