Seven problems with Edinburgh Council’s claim to be pro-investment

After the Edinburgh Council administration tries to take some of the credit for £10.8 billion of investment in the city, John McLellan tells a different story.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 11:40 am
Council leader Adam McVey is claiming credit for much of the investment happening in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

An impressive list of Edinburgh developments has just been published by an online forum for urban development, Skyscrapercity.com, a mixture of public and private developments, including the Council’s schools and housing programmes and Edinburgh University’s massive expansion.

It is a barometer of the city’s economic health and City Council leader Adam McVey was quick to applaud. “A fascinating thread of £10.8bn of investment happening right now in the Capital, much of it being delivered by or with Edinburgh Council,” he said.

This is not inaccurate, with the council behind some big projects on public land, like Meadowbank, Granton Waterfront, and Pennywell. But it doesn’t explain how the council has delayed, opposed or rejected many of the private projects listed. Here’s a flavour:

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1, Edinburgh Marina: The council is challenging the planning permission granted by the Scottish Government.

2, Gilmerton Gateway: Opposed by the planning convener.

3, Waverley Market redevelopment: Opposed by the planning convener.

4, Dunard Concert Hall: The council’s handling of the planning application is now subject to a judicial review and is in trouble.

5, Rosewood Hotel: The Council threw out the Old Royal High plan, despite approving the hotel concept in the first place. Now awaiting the outcome of a government inquiry.

6, West Craigs: Planners are in an ongoing wrangle over this housing development near the airport.

7, St James Centre: Officers objected to the materials and there has been a string of disputes with the council.

I could go on. So to rephrase: “£10.8bn of investment happening right now in the Capital, much of it being delivered despite Edinburgh Council.”