Owner of 'ransom strip' plans to build wall in front of Edinburgh Accies development in Stockbridge

THE row over the “ransom strip” in front of the Accies development at Stockbridge has escalated after the owners applied for planning permission to build a wall which would block direct access from the main road to the new shops.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 5:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 8:00 pm
Leafrealm Land Ltd has reasserted its rights by adding CGM (Company of Grange Members) to the red line.

Last month Leafrealm Land Ltd had a red line painted on the pavement to indicate the narrow piece of ground on Comely Bank Road which people would have to cross to reach the shops built as part of the Accies’ £16m project, which also includes a rugby pitch, 2500-seat stand, cafe bar and function suites.

The red line marks the position of a 6ft high wall which was built in 1912 and demolished by the council a few years ago. But now Leafrealm wants to rebuild the wall and has lodged an application with the city council.

Company director Douglas Lowe - who led the purchase of the land from the next-door Grange Club two years ago - said the move was to reinforce Leafrealm’s rights over the land.

He said: “What I would like to do is have a resolution of the matter in a normal commercial manner, which is what you would expect in a commercial dispute.”

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Red line painted around £1m 'ransom' strip in row over Edinburgh Accie's project in Stockbridge

Although there would be several feet between the wall and the shopfronts, there would be no access to the shops from Comely Bank Road, only from North Park Terrace or Portgower Place at either end of the site.

“Our proposal is to rebuild the wall with as much of the stone as is left, which is lying most of it in the Accies field.

“What I’ve been trying to do from the beginning, even before I bought it from the Grange Trust, is to reach an accommodation between the parties.”

The strip was previously owned by the Grange Club, but Mr Lowe and other senior members bought it for £12,500 in 2017 and say they would use any money they can obtain for the land to fund a new sports hall for the Grange.

A spokeswoman for the Raeburn Place Foundation said they had not received neighbour notification of any planning application, but would consider its terms “should it materialise”.