Housing emergency? What emergency? - John McLellan

Such fun at last week’s development management committee as Edinburgh councillors masquerading as urban planning geniuses unpicked the farce in which they landed a developer with a £2 million bill for a primary school annexe which can’t be built on the toss of a coin.
Councillor Neil GardinerCouncillor Neil Gardiner
Councillor Neil Gardiner

Rightly fearing abject humiliation officers took the unusual step of sending the decision back to the committee, and lo and behold sense prevailed this time.

Well, not entirely, because Cllr Chas “Bike Stand” Booth still found a way to object because eight flats out of the 256 planned for the Ferry Road site would have sealed windows because of traffic noise and the potential of cooking smells from the next-door hotel. But then he was only taking his cue from the environmental protection officers who recommended refusal.

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The poor fellow had to ask if the number of bike racks had been mentioned, when page three of the report he should have read clearly said there were 589 of them.

But take a bow SNP Cllr Neil Gardiner, who, having insisted on the £2m levy in the first place said he had reconsidered in light of the economic challenges. I might be wrong, but the economy hasn’t changed much in a month, and I hope the fresh pair of eyes he claims to have found will retain their clarity.

At least Lib Dem Hal Osler kept her constituents happy by sticking with her objections. “I think we can do better,” she pronounced loftily. Housing emergency? What emergency?