Popular cafe to make way for flats after campaigners defeated

CAMPAIGNERS have admitted defeat in a two-year battle to save a popular community cafe from demolition.

Thursday, 3rd August 2017, 9:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:37 am
Earthy at canonmills will be closed to make way for flats. Picture: JP
Earthy at canonmills will be closed to make way for flats. Picture: JP

More than 7,000 people signed a petition in a bid to reprieve Earthy at Canonmills Bridge.

But the cafe will shut its doors for the final time next month to make way for a controversial development.

“We have exploited all possible avenues to halt the unpopular scheme, very publicly and behind the scenes,” read a sombre statement from the Save 1 - 6 Canonmills Bridge group.

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“Latterly we worked with a renowned architect to develop an alternative proposal that would have offered more benefit to the community, acknowledging the Water of Leith setting - incorporating a riverside walkway.

“Alas, the owner/developers are making ready to proceed with their redevelopment and Earthy will close after the festival.”

Leith-based Glovart Investments won planning permission in 2013 to build six flats, three townhouses and two restaurants.

Developers had to go back to the council for permission to bulldoze Earthy in 2015 - sparking fierce opposition.

Councillors unanimously blocked the bid only to be overruled on appeal as its value to the conservation area was deemed insufficient.

Campaigners were given false hope last year when a three-year planning directive for work to start on the project expired - only for undertaken minor kerb work to be deemed sufficient.

Plans for the site have been labelled bland, oversized and out of character by opponents.

“This ugly and cramped development would irreparably alter, for the worse, the look and feel of a pleasant corner of Edinburgh,” said Canonmills residents Daniel and Mae Emily Rhodes, previously.

Managers at Earthy announced they would be moving staff to their extended Portobello branch on September 4 to make way for the bulldozers.

“Earthy has been thrilled and delighted with our time on the Bridge,” they said.

“We would like to thank each and every customer, staff member, supplier and neighbour, both business and personal, that have worked with us, visited us and supported us during our tenure.

“This includes Horatio the Heron who has been our constant companion, visiting us daily from the river, as well as many thousands of visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens.”

Customers and neighbours have taken to social media to rue the demise of Earthy’s at Cononmills.

“So sad,” posted Lynn Currie on the campaign Facebook page. “Thank you for all you and everyone did to try and stop the demolition of the building and closure of a local cafe and shop that has become a local institution.

“Meeting at the Canonmills Clock will never be quite the same.”

Cal Daniels posted: “Gutted. So sad to lose Earthy and the views to something so lumpy and out of character. And sad for the local shops too. Earthy was a key reason for me ever being in that part of town.”