THREE radical proposals have been unveiled to develop a historic city beauty spot.
Architects are consulting on the best way to build on land at Craighouse in the south of the city, which is a campus of Edinburgh Napier University.
Neighbours have been shown alternatives, ranging from low-level dwellings to glass towers visible from as far away as Fife.
The consortium in charge of the £300 million project – which includes Sundial Properties, Mountgrange and the university itself – said creating homes and flats represented the best way forward for the land, which lies between Morningside and Craiglockhart.
However, local groups have expressed fears about the impact of up to 200 new homes, not to mention the aesthetic damage.
Rosy Barnes, a spokeswoman from the Friends of Craighouse Grounds and Wood, said: “We do not believe the developers have properly grasped the natural feel of this wonderful place and just how important it is to local people.
“There are serious concerns about the sheer volume of new build being proposed and the pressure that 200 new households will have on traffic, schools and local amenities, along with worries about future access for the general public.”
Other options had been considered for the site, which boasts views from both sides over Edinburgh and the Forth to Fife, and also back to West Lothian and over to the Forth Valley and Perthshire.
Initial ideas to create either a spa hotel or care home have been ruled out, with a mix of flats and houses deemed the best for maintenance and retaining public access.
Sundial Properties director William Gray Muir, said: “We are looking to work with architects and landscape designers of the highest calibre to realise the potential of the site while fully protecting its historic significance.
“This should ensure that the new homes would not only strengthen Edinburgh’s image as a desirable place to live, but will also provide a greater choice of housing stock.”
Alan Dickson, chairman of Craiglockhart Community Council, said: “What people appear to be concerned about is the new-build element and the extent to which it would damage the site.
“The other is maintaining public access to the site.”
Locals have known for several years that something would have to happen with the land amid rumours the university was looking to sell as it expanded its campuses at Craiglockhart and Sighthill.
Developers said the ageing buildings, which date back to the 19th century, cost nearly £1 million a year to maintain and that the “status quo” was not an option.
Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray said: “It is very important that the views of local residents are heard.”