A COMPANY set up to lead the regeneration of Craigmillar has made a massive financial loss after failing to attract developers to take part in key projects.
Accounts for Parc Craigmillar Limited show a loss of £1,341,000 for the year to December, when the company had budgeted for a £475,000 profit.
A confidential report to the Parc board at the end of January, passed to the Evening News, said the loss was due to a land sale for residential development as part of the town centre project which “couldn’t be achieved” and fees incurred in previous years which had to be written off.
Parc was set up by the city council and its arms-length development company EDI to oversee the regeneration of Craigmillar.
Vast swathes of land at Niddrie Mains and Greendykes were transferred to its ownership and it has also received millions of pounds in Scottish Government funding.
But community councillor Paul Nolan claimed only around one-third of the planned redevelopment of the area had taken place – and there had been too many flats and not enough family houses.
He said the idea of a market-led regeneration had been “absurd” and had now failed.
He said: “It’s been a ten-year bonanza for expensive consultants and developers.”
Mr Nolan said an example of Parc’s extravagance was its sales office built four years ago at a cost of £300,000 which is now to be demolished.
Work was due to begin soon on the first stage of Craigmillar’s new “town centre” including 300 new homes and a supermarket.
But the report to the Parc board said: “A land sale for residential development in the town centre had been planned, but this couldn’t be achieved.” It went on to talk of “the low level of interest in the town centre for residential development” and said £1,175,401 of mainly “historical fees” had to be written off.
Mr Nolan said: “They’re writing off fees for projects that never happened.”
And he claimed developers were not interested in land at Craigmillar because they knew alternative sites were likely to get the go-ahead in nearby places like The Wisp, Newcraighall and Brunstane. He said: “If you have the choice of greenfield site you’re going to go for that rather than the difficulties of an old housing estate. If this was meant to be market-led regeneration, the market is stuffing them because they’re saying they’re going elsewhere.”
Craigmillar councillor David Walker said he was disappointed but “not entirely surprised” at Parc’s financial problems.
He said: “Regeneration in Craigmillar to date has resulted in too many flats and high density housing developments and they have failed to deliver the new community high school.
“I’m not totally convinced Parc have the expertise within their ranks to deliver the regeneration and improvements that the area requires and it is perhaps time for the city council to take a fresh approach to the regeneration of Craigmillar.”
No-one at Parc was available for comment.