Letters to the Editor: Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative call for India Quay plan to include more for the community

Edinburgh UK Feb 25 2016; Dr Ed Trevillion, Chair of PRS Working Party and Alex Neil MSP at India Quay, Fountainbridge to unveil plans that could deliver thousands of purpose-built homes for private rent. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

Edinburgh UK Feb 25 2016; Dr Ed Trevillion, Chair of PRS Working Party and Alex Neil MSP at India Quay, Fountainbridge to unveil plans that could deliver thousands of purpose-built homes for private rent. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

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Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative (FCI) is pleased that the India Quay site will include more housing, including 112 affordable homes.

This is something we have long been campaigning for, based on input from local people at community events over the past five years.

We are delighted that EDI have also agreed to build a district heating scheme which will reduce carbon emissions and reduce heating costs for all housing on the site.

We do, however, still have concerns about the social mix envisaged by this plan – in the main targeted at the high income end.

The danger of a large build to rent scheme is that it can become saturated with party flats and student accommodation, in an area which already has over 6000 student units and several apart hotels.

This does not bring it back into ‘community use’ but would mainly benefit tourists and transient populations and have a disproportionate effect on retail and community environment.

FCI also notes that the development still needs a ‘heart’ where people can mix and socialise both indoors and outdoors. We feel there needs to be something to encourage community wellbeing as well as community use, and FCI will continue to try to influence this development so it becomes a positive example of a truly vibrant community rather than just a ‘destination’.

More green space or hard standing areas could alleviate the pressure on the Meadows and a commitment to social enterprise and local based commercial interest could make this a place for living in, not just ‘visiting’.

Gillian Lawrence, Jane Jones, Richard Allen, Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative, www.fountainbridgeci.org.uk