Cowboy protesters in anger at architect

Frank Titterton, left, and the campaigners protest against the Broughton Road work. Picture: Gordon Fraser
Frank Titterton, left, and the campaigners protest against the Broughton Road work. Picture: Gordon Fraser
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A BUNCH of cowboys brought the Wild West to the door of a city architect as they protested over plans to build new houses.

Residents in Broughton Road are fighting a blueprint that could see properties developed in a small space of land at the foot of a steep slope behind tenements.

They are angry because builders have already torn down fences and walls to build an access road into the site – even though they haven’t yet secured planning 

Despite their frustration, a group of six campaigners were all smiles as they took part in a fun demonstration yesterday, but they insisted there was a serious point to the frivolity.

Frank Titterton, 56, whose flat overlooks the site, said: “There will be a 4.5-metre wall built beside our gardens, and the entrance to the roadway won’t be safe.

“Another big worry is drainage, with lots of building on boggy land.”

Dressed in cowboy hats, playing guitars and singing parody songs – Ghost Riders in the Sky became Cowboy Builders on the Hill – they gathered outside the office of architect Sir Frank Mears Associates Ltd in Minto Street, Newington.

They insist developer Provincial Property Holding Ltd – which is based in the British Virgin Islands and didn’t respond to an Evening News request for comment – has jumped the gun by beginning work on the site before the planning process is completed.

Margaret Halliday, 64, who lives on Claremont Grove, which is behind Broughton Road, said: “The top of the slope drops sharply from my garden and we are worried that any digging could cause landslips.”

Hugh Crawford, who runs the architecture firm, said he and his wife were upset by protesters gathering outside their home, which doubles up as his office.

He said: “I don’t appreciate all this and their intemperate approach upsets my wife. There’s been a deal of bother at the site and the client feels there is no possibility of building a dialogue with the protesters.

“They may have been very friendly, but it’s not very nice sitting inside when they are doing this outside our home.”

Labour councillor Nick Gardner said he believed the planning application would eventually hit a dead end.

Cllr Gardner, who represents the Leith Walk ward, said: “My constituents have been very, very angry about what’s been going on, but for them to respond with humour and wit does them great credit.

“The application is for a road to nowhere. It’s not part of any plan to build, just an intention. It is difficult to see how they can develop houses and meet regulations.”