The city plan for the next 10 years shows a council hiding from reality - John McLellan

Starved of cash and facing a lengthening list of broken promises, residents might have expected Edinburgh Council’s figureheads to focus on mounting problems instead of whingeing about the opposition.

By John McLellan
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 4:55 am
The council's 10-year vision for Edinburgh has rightly received some tough criticism, writes John McLellan
The council's 10-year vision for Edinburgh has rightly received some tough criticism, writes John McLellan

Perhaps the difficulties are even worse than they can admit and distraction is all there is to offer, and judging by a new assessment of Edinburgh Council’s masterplan for the next ten years that’s not wide of the mark.

According to economics consultant Richard Marsh, who has advised Scottish Government expert groups, City Plan 2030 threatens to displace around 400 businesses through compulsory purchase orders which will create the “most unbalanced economic employment base” of any major UK city including London, with no adequate plan for their relocation.

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“This is an extraordinarily radical intervention and completely unprecedented as a concerted planning strategy anywhere in the UK,” he writes. “The Proposed City Plan does not appear to give any consideration to the socio-economic consequences for the most deprived parts of the City.

Mr Marsh says City Plan’s challenges to key Scottish Government policies, including the 20-minute neighbourhood concept, “have hardly been considered”.

Given it was described by planning convener Neil Gardiner as a “bold and comprehensive plan” which makes “economic and environmental sense”, it’s not unreasonable to ask why a plan which was years in the making has not addressed these issues or if a housing blueprint which can’t meet demand should be considered competent?

It only makes sense if your priority is not facing reality and avoiding hard choices. And an election in May.

- John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny / Duddingston

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