Opponents snub Craighouse plans

An artist's impression of the revised plans for the old Napier University site
An artist's impression of the revised plans for the old Napier University site
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Development plans for Craighouse have been rejected for the third time by community councillors ahead of a crucial planning committee meeting.

The decision heaps further misery on the controversial development plan, which has faced strong opposition from campaigners and residents.

Morningside community councillors voted by ten to two with one abstention at a special meeting on Friday to sustain their objection to the development to cover the third set of plans, submitted by a development consortium made up of Sundial Properties, Mountgrange Investment and Napier University.

More than 160 members of the public commented on the plans ahead of the meeting, with all but five expressing negative views about the development.

Objections raised during the meeting included the impact on traffic, the potential for flooding due to insufficient drainage and the impact to local wildlife.

The meeting also heard from South Morningside Primary Parents’ Association which warned that the development would have a serious impact on the school, which is already at capacity, and called for developers and the council to consider creating a new primary school on the site.

Community council chairman Arne Strid said: “The major problem with building houses on one of the seven hills of Edinburgh is that it has been protected in every sense you can think of, but all these restrictions on what can be done seem to be swept aside to go ahead with this plan.”

“One building has gone from the previous set of plans, but on the other hand, the underground parking has now become overground parking, which means a lot of cars will now come up to the 
surface instead, which is not an improvement.

“Yes, there is land left for dog walkers and to see the views, and there are improvements, but it doesn’t seem to be enough for the majority to give up one of the seven hills.

“Then there is the issue of biodiversity. Badger setts and birds will be upset by all this building work.

“There was very little positive said, and very much negative said.”

The plans were resubmitted for a third time after councillors relaxed demands for the development to include underground parking and sandstone facades on any new buildings.

Ahead of submitting new plans, Willie Gray Muir, a spokesman for the developers 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.

Campaign group Friends of Craighouse believes the site, which includes listed buildings, can be saved as a public park through a community buyout.