Craighouse fears old campus ‘flipped at profit’

An artist's impression of the plans for the Craighouse site. Picture: comp
An artist's impression of the plans for the Craighouse site. Picture: comp
Have your say

CAMPAIGNERS have expressed fears over the controversial Craighouse development after an online site was set up which offers the former campus for sale.

Estate agent Rettie has set up a password-protected website containing technical and sales information on the £90 million former university campus.

Access to the site and the information it contains requires the signing of a non-disclosure agreement.

The latest move in the saga has fed into long-held fears of campaigners that the site is to be “flipped at a profit” by developers the Craighouse Partnership, comprising Mountgrange Investment, Sundial Properties and the university itself.

A spokesman for the consortium has stressed that the Rettie site is only in place to attract a development partner better equipped to deal with the new-build element of the plans.

However, a full buyout of the site and its permissions has also not been fully ruled out.

Rosy Barnes of local campaign group Friends of Craighouse revealed the website was created on August 26 – a week before the city council planning committee debated and passed the application.

She said: “The shameless audacity of creating a sales website just days before a hearing is gobsmacking. It shows that allowing developers to smash through planning protections for profit is not the answer to sensitive sites like Craighouse.

“Thousands of objections were ignored in order to grant a planning application that delivers millions to speculators without saving the site.”

The Craighouse proposal concerns a 145-property development on the former Napier University campus.

A consortium spokesman said: “We are speaking to prospective delivery partners to identify the very best expertise to assist in the delivery of these homes and their landscape. The Rettie & Co ‘site’ referred to is a repository of all the planning and technical data on the project. This is normal business procedure for a significant development of this scale in Edinburgh.”

This view was echoed by Keith Campbell, an associate in the planning team of law firm Macroberts, who said: “It is not unusual for a consortium to change over the course of an application as different firms bring different areas of expertise to a development.”