A JUDGE has thrown out a bid to force the rebuilding of a wall at the site of the controversial Edinburgh Accies’ development in Stockbridge.
The wall stood on a 2ft wide piece of land seen as a “ransom strip” – valued at around £1 million – needed to access the site.
The Grange Trust, which claims ownership of the strip, wanted the Court of Session to order the city council to rebuild the wall under an agreement dating back to 1912.
But Lord Boyd said the Accies had been party to the original agreement and needed to be involved in the legal action alongside the Grange Trust in order for it to succeed.
The ruling was welcomed by the Raeburn Place Foundation, which is behind the £16m Accies development featuring a rugby pitch and 2500-seat stand alongside bars, shops and other facilities.
But Douglas Lowe, former chairman of the Grange Trust, claimed the court judgement was “not what it seems”.
He said the ruling made it look as if the Grange had lost. “But actually, in cricket terms, it’s a googly – it’s going to break the other way.
“The action was lost on the basis that the Grange Trust had no position to sue. But on the cardinal issue of the ownership of the solum [the ground under the wall] the judge if anything favoured the Grange Trust’s position.
“The substantive issue that determines all this is the ownership of the solum.”
He said it would be up to the current trustees to decide whether to take further action over the issue.
Bruce Thompson of the Save Stockbridge campaign which has led opposition to the Accies development, said the row had been going on for five years and the court judgement was another twist along the way.
He said: “There are still a lot of questions around this. This is not final. Save Stockbridge is still optimistic this development will not happen, certainly not on the scale envisaged.”
The Evening News revealed last year how the disputed strip of land would form a key access point to the Accies development, but records suggested it was owned by the nearby Grange Cricket and Sports Club. Experts had estimated the “ransom” value of the strip – the amount the Accies could be expected to pay to acquire the land – at £875,000, but another estimate put the figure at £1,330,000.
A Raeburn Place Foundation spokesman said: “We welcome the ruling that dismissed the Grange Trust’s rights to pursue an action against the city council. This ruling, following an earlier failed attempt by the trust to prevent the foundation proceeding with the recently completed enabling works, clears the way for the foundation to start the development in the coming months.”