Late bid to halt ‘flat-pack’ development

An artist's impression of the new building. Picture: comp
An artist's impression of the new building. Picture: comp
Have your say

RESIDENTS have launched an 11th-hour bid to halt a “horrendous” new development at a bridge in the heart of Canonmills.

More than 100 objections have been lodged against the jutting glass and yellow stone complex at Canonmills Bridge, which already has planning permission.

Boasting two business units, six flats and three townhouses, designs for the new building have alarmed neighbours but they are too late to block the development.

Residents were alerted to the blueprints after architects filed for minor alterations to an application that had already been waved through by planners without controversy.

Now objectors are furious they missed their chance to oppose the designs.

The total number of comments discussing the fresh application – which means to change two residential flats into a large retail unit and alter elevation – now exceeds 170.

David McLean’s history group, Lost Edinburgh, was inundated with messages after publishing images of the planned building online.

He said: “It will have a negative visual impact on the area. The tenement behind it [at the bottom of Huntly Street] is one of the existing examples of Scottish Baronial architecture and it will be totally obscured from view. It’s just like cheap, flat-pack furniture.”

There are fears for popular food market and restaurant Earthy, which occupies the existing building on the bridge and would be demolished.

Objector Zoe White said: “I had no idea about any of this, despite living just around the corner. I’m so sad and angry that it’s happening – not only because Earthy is a hugely popular restaurant and shop, but because that building is ugly, far too big, and totally out of keeping with the area.”

Another described the complex as an “ill-conceived” development which would “in no way serve the community”, while Miranda Weir said: “Horrendous looking building. Why would they do that to such a charming part of Edinburgh?

Inverleith Conservative councillor Iain Whyte sympathised with the concerns but said it was now “impossible” for the decision to be reversed.

He said: “All you can object to at this stage is the changes that are now proposed. While I can understand people’s frustrations, there’s a due process and it’s impossible for councillors to take any action.”

A spokesman for developer Mountlake said: “Mountlake has submitted an application to amend their 2013 planning approval, which consists of two small retail units at street level, six flats and three townhouses.

“The application proposes to change the street-level units into a single open-plan unit facing on to the Canonmills Bridge. Mountlake note this is similar to their existing unit currently occupied by Earthy.

“Mountlake anticipate that a single ground-floor unit will attract a tenant who will enjoy the unique opportunity of trading from a modern retail unit in Canonmills. [Architect] Fouin and Bell has intimated that site works will commence in 2015 with a targeted completion of early 2016.”

No-one from Earthy was available for comment.