Communities in Colinton, Firrhill and Craiglockhart ask for voice on future of Edinburgh's Redford barracks site
COMMUNITIES surrounding closure-listed Redford barracks say they must be given a proper say on future plans for the site before it is too late.
Hundreds of homes are expected to be built there after the barracks are shut in 2025. But locals want to ensure the impact on roads, shops, schools and medical services in the area are fully taken into account.
And so far the city council has refused to include community councils on a working group about future development of the site.
Tom McDonald, chair of Colinton community council, said the impact of development would be felt across a big area. “Colinton on one side, Firrhill on the other and Craiglockhart close by a lot of communities are likely to be affected quite seriously,” he said.
“Traffic, particularly through the village of Colinton, will be increased by any development - when the bypass is closed we already get an enormous amount of traffic and the village itself is not really able to cope.
“If there are hundreds of new homes, which is almost certain given Edinburgh’s needs, the effect on local shops is another issue. There would probably have to be new shops as part of the development - and that would be of concern to the operators in the village.
“Our worry is that if it just left to professional planners to get on with it we will be given a nearly-cooked plan rather than any real influence.
“We would like to be represented on the working group -perhaps representative from each of the community councils. We did suggest it before, but the council decided not to involve us at that stage. Our worry is it might be too late when they get round to it.”
Several of the barracks buildings are listed, along with the parade grounds and the site includes a lot of open space.
Colinton Labour councillor Scott Arthur said: “If we only build homes on the site, it will be a massive missed opportunity. I’d love to see one of the fantastic listed buildings converted to a hotel and space made for a swimming pool - that would bring jobs to the area and boost the local economy. The site could also provide room for Firrhill High School to expand.”
Tory councillor Phil Doggart, who co-chairs the working group, said membership had been restricted up till now due to commercial sensitivity about the site. But he echoed some of the community’s concerns. “If you have predominantly housing on the site it creates all sorts of problems around transport and you need to think about schools - Firrhill is at capacity.”
Planning convener Neil Gardiner said following public drop-in sessions, officers would draw up a planning brief reflecting local priorities.
He said: “Listening to the views of the local community is going to be key in getting the redevelopment of this area right. We’re at a very early stage in the process and there will be lots of opportunities to comment on all of the plans at every stage.”
There’s a public drop-in session on the future of the site at Oxgangs Library on Tuesday from 2pm until 7pm.