Inch Park: Edinburgh residents slam proposals for new housing development

The site has been listed as an area of assessment for possible housing development.

Monday, 10th August 2020, 5:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 7:56 am
Map of Inch Park created by Elena Gardelli for Inch Community Association.
Map of Inch Park created by Elena Gardelli for Inch Community Association.

Locals have hit out at a proposal included in Edinburgh City Council’s City Plan 2030 to build between 465 and 813 houses in Inch Park.

Inch Nursery, an area of the park, is one of 23 assessment areas included in a housing study to identify areas of the city which could be built on to help the council reach its goal of 20,000 affordable homes by 2027.

During a consultation on the plan held between January and April 2020 there were more than 250 responses which objected to the possibility of development on Inch Nursery.

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Local people are campaigning for the Inch Nursery to be dropped from consideration for housing development. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Locals have also objected to the current use of the area being classed as “employment - industrial” as they argue it is a key part of the surrounding park and an asset to the local community.

“The Inch is already considered a deprived area, and the school is already over subscribed,” said Lianne Reid, 39, an Inch resident with two children, Marlow, 5, and Tallulah, 8.

“Building more houses here is not going to benefit the local community. We need something in the park which is going to benefit people and bring the community together as one.

“There aren’t masses of green spaces in the city. This is a beautiful area to live in and that’s why we live here. Green spaces are so important for the children and a lot of them around here don’t have gardens, so this is their garden.”

“There’s not a lot of investment in the area,” said Sandy Quigley, 40, another Inch resident who moved to the Inch with his girlfriend a year ago.

“And when there is it seems to go into development rather than in things for local people to do.

“We came here because it was a nice quiet area with parks and things, and that’s why a lot of people quite like it. We’re not sure we would have bought a house here if we’d known they would build a concrete jungle just next to it.”

Kevin Gibbons, chair of Inch Community Association and Inch Community Centre Management Committee, said the nursery is a vital part of the well-loved Inch Park.

“Many of the trees you see growing in Inch Park are actually ones growing in the nursery, “ he said.

“Many of the best views of the Park are ones which include the nursery. The nursery is organically inseparable from the rest of the park.”

He added: “If this area was to be covered by housing, the view would then be one of concrete instead of trees, and Inch Park as we know it would destroyed.

“Everyone understands the need to build houses. But since when did it become council policy to use Edinburgh’s parks as building sites?

“And where in these plans are people meant to go for relaxation when all the city’s greenspaces are built over?

“Inch Park is one of the most extensive and beautiful green spaces in the whole of Edinburgh, beloved by generations of Edinburgh citizens over the years,” he said.

“It is visited daily as a place of recreation, for walking, meetings, playing sports, to encounter nature or in order to escape from the stresses of urban life.

“It contains the magnificent Inch House, the home of the local community centre and an A-

listed historical building with a 16th or 17th century castellated tower house.

“Under the City Plan 2030 vision the gardens would be entirely obliterated and a mass of modern housing would be crammed practically against the walls of Inch House.

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“This cannot be an appropriate or respectful use for such a culturally important site.

Council Planning Convener Neil Gardiner said: Convener of the council’s Planning Committee, said of the City Plan 2030: “City Plan 2030 is about us making the right choices now so that our residents can make reasonable and informed choices about how and where they live and how they get around in the future.

“Edinburgh is a beautiful green, cultural and historic city which has benefited from a thriving economy but, like many cities, we have increasing levels of poverty and health inequalities in our communities, rising housing costs and in some areas, traffic congestion and poor air quality. We also need to adapt our city to meet the needs of an ageing population, address the increasing impact of climate change and make sure growth is sustainable.

“This must all now be addressed in the context of the changes we are seeing as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and making sure we have resilient communities.”