Common Good register landmarks at bargain prices

The Ross Fountain is estimated at �1000. Picture: Katie Lee
The Ross Fountain is estimated at �1000. Picture: Katie Lee
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WHAT value can be placed on Edinburgh’s “priceless” Capital landmarks like Princes Street Gardens or the iconic Scott Monument?

According to a city asset list – next to nothing.

A register of Common Good land, properties and statues reveals the Scott Monument – the world’s largest monument to a writer – commands a paltry price tag of £9960, while a canny investor could snap up Bruntsfield Links for £26,000.

Shipped from France in 122 pieces during the 19th century, the magnificent Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens is listed at a mere £1000 – the same price as the Floral Clock – and Calton Hill, home of “Edinburgh’s Disgrace”, is priced at little over £200,000.

The bizarre valuations are given to assets where the historical cost cannot be calculated.

Most of the Common Good monuments and statues were bequeathed to the council many years ago with the historic value based on when they came into the city’s hands.

A council spokeswoman said the assets were “essentially valued at historical cost” and that the Common Good price was not indicative of a value on the open market.

But calls have been made for a review of the asset list valuation.

With the council’s financial committee due to meet at the end of the month, Green finance spokesman Gavin Corbett insisted the city must look again to ensure Capital monuments and beauty spots are not undervalued.

He said: “Common good assets belong to the people of Edinburgh, with the council acting as a caretaker.

“Some of these assets are almost priceless, like Princes Street Gardens, or define the city, like Calton Hill or the City Chambers.

“But however venerable the assets on the books, we need a modern way of valuing them and making sure they are properly cared for.”

Marion Williams, director of heritage watchdog the Cockburn Association, was baffled by the low valuations and called for greater transparency within the system.

She said: “The Common Good had been a major concern for the Association for 140 years of its existence but it seems to be an awfully difficult process to understand and those figures don’t seem to make any sense.”

The Common Good Fund was originally created through grants from Edinburgh landowners but the present pot is comprised of funds from the City and Royal Burgh of Edinburgh and the Royal Burgh of South Queensferry.

A report on the Common Good was prepared by the Town Clerk and City Chamberlain in 1905.

Valuations of city assets

Bruntsfield Links: £26,006

Calton Hill: £206,045

City Chambers Complex: £13,616,209

City Observatory: £1,755,000

East Market St Garage: £2,200,000

Floral Clock: £1000

Adam Black Statue: £1000

David Livingston Statue: £1000

Martyr’s Cross Monument, Grassmarket: £1000

Inch Park: £300,000

Lady Stair’s House: £278,344

Meadows: £1,777,739

Portobello Park: £552,400

Princes St Gardens (West): £1,078,132

Walter Scott Monument: £9060

Robert Louis Stevenson memoral grove: £5000

Ross Bandstand: £51,001

Ross Fountain: £1000

Royal Scots Monument: £1000

Scottish American War Memorial: £1000

Sir James Y Simpson statue: £1000

Roseburn Park: £63,296

S Queensferry Harbour: £21,550