DEVELOPERS say work has begun on the £16 million new home for Edinburgh Accies in Stockbridge - despite an ongoing legal row
The Raeburn Place Foundation, which is behind the revamp of the Accies’ ground, including a new 2500-seater stadium, shops and bars, said diggers moved in yesterday to start four months of enabling works, with the main project scheduled to get under way later in the year.
But a legal wrangle over a 2ft wide strip of land - a so-called “ransom strip” valued at up to £1m - has still not been resolved.
The the Grange Club, based in Stockbridge, which owns the strip, has launched legal action against the city council over a demolished wall on the land on Comely Bank Road.
If it wins in court, the council would be forced to rebuild the wall - a move which Grange bosses hope will then compel Accies to purchase the strip if they want their development to go ahead.
Bruce Thompson of the Save Stockbridge campaign, which has fought against the Accies scheme, was sceptical about the claim that work was now starting in earnest.
He said: “They have to have an archaeological survey done, which can take months, they need tree surveys and they need to pay the council £383,000 as part of the planning conditions.
“And to start without the wall issue being resolved would be stupid. Anything could happen.
“But their planning permission expires in June if they have not made a start, so they are probably just doing something on site to safeguard that.”
A spokeswoman for the Raeburn Place Foundation described such speculation as “cynical” and insisted the scheme would go ahead.
She said: “Since the collapse of the wall along Comely Bank Road, the condition of Raeburn Place has deteriorated. The enabling works provide an opportunity to improve the local environment for residents and visitors.
“In addition to the groundworks, there will be repairs to the wall and gateway along Portgower Place, the mounds of rubble will be removed and the site will be left in a more visually appealing state.
“The existing pavements along Comely Bank Road and Portgower Place will also be resurfaced and upgraded.
“The final part of the works will be the erection of a hoarding along the site boundary on Comely Bank Road, ensuring the site is enclosed for when the main project begins.”