City politicians join campaign to stop development at Craighouse

Rosie Barnes leads a Friends of Craighouse protest
Rosie Barnes leads a Friends of Craighouse protest
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CAMPAIGNERS against controversial development plans at a much-loved city beauty spot have been boosted by the backing of Capital politicians.

The Friends of Craighouse who have already attracted 4000 signatures to a petition in opposition to plans at the former Napier University campus at Craighouse, have now been joined by MP Ian Murray and MSPs Jim Eadie and Alison Johnstone.

Each of the politicians have stated their positions following a round of recent public consultation events showcasing revised plans by developer The Craighouse Partnership, comprising Sundial Properties and Mountgrange Investment.

Of these plans Mr Murray said: “If the developers think the current plans are appropriate then they are simply wrong.

“Friends of Craighouse deserve tremendous credit for the work they are doing on behalf of local people and they continue to get my unstinting support.”

SNP MSP Mr Eadie has echoed this and is at present carrying out his own survey of residents on the matter.

He said: “I have been made keenly aware of the strength of feeling and attachment that many local people have to the green space at Craighouse. I look forward to working with the Friends and others to find a sustainable solution to the use of Craighouse Campus which preserves it as a green space.”

Anger has steadily grown against The Craighouse Partnership in recent weeks after plans showing 116 homes on the site, rather than the original 110, were revealed. The developer claims its plans are not financially viable unless the new homes are built.

William Gray Muir, director of Sundial Properties, said finance is in place to begin work within 12 months but raised concerns that the condition of on-site listed buildings could fall into decline.

He said: “Some that were vacated last year are already suffering from dry rot. Others could go into rapid decline.”

However, Green MSP Ms Johnstone said: “This is an important historic site of city-wide significance. The quite excessive amount of new-build being proposed would destroy amenity and result in a massive increase in residential traffic, as well as having grave implications for green space.”

Meanwhile, Morningside Community Council has also passed a resolution to object to the development on any area designated as open space or of “great landscape value”.

Council chairwoman Jean Thompson said: “We had thought it best to take a neutral position. However, as more of the plans were made public this position has changed.”

Rosy Barnes of The Friends of Craighouse said: “It’s wonderful to receive so much support – there’s a growing consensus and I’m very impressed that the politicians are able to put aside their differences and come together on this issue.

“We need elected representatives with backbone to uphold the Local Plan and designations – which are being treated with contempt by The Craighouse Partnership.

“I urge our politicians to protect the seven hills and Edinburgh’s green spaces in their manifestos, in personal statements and in their policies.”