IT may have been recognised as one of the coolest places to live in Britain – but things have grown fairly heated in Stockbridge recently.
The Accies’ proposals for developing their historic rugby ground have certainly split local opinion. That, in itself, is no surprise. Any significant changes on such a sensitive site were always likely to prove contentious.
It is easy to understand why some residents fear what impact creating up to nine retail units on Raeburn Place might have on the rest of Stockbridge. Yet, it might also be seen as a natural extension of the attractive local shopping parade, and there are plenty of potential positives in the wider plans.
The job of councillors when they meet next week will be to decide what is best for the community as a whole. They will do that with a recommendation in front of them from city planning officials to give the go-ahead.
On balance, this newspaper supports that view, believing it to be positive for Stockbridge as a whole.
Raeburn Place is currently used for healthy, sporting activity. While it may seem like scaremongering to suggest that parcels of land around the site could be sold off for development in future, or even the entire plot, we cannot take for granted the future of such sporting institutions close to the city centre.
This plan would allow the Accies – who are currently forced to prepare in portable changing rooms – to thrive, and potentially continue in their historic home for another 150 years.
Don’t forget, this is not just any old rugby club – it is the one which hosted the world’s first rugby international. There is a genuine need for the new museum which is a part of this project.
That and the improved facilities will hopefully bring bigger crowds to Raeburn Place, which would benefit shops and businesses throughout Stockbridge.