Council extends delay on Moredun housing development, pledges to 'rebuild trust' with locals

Locals have been campaigning for weeks.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:24 pm

Liberton residents are once again celebrating as a delay on investigations into housing development on Moredunvale Green has been extended until at least 2022.

Locals have been campaigning for three weeks against the possible housing development, after Edinburgh City Council attempted investigations into the feasibility of the project at the end of June.

The land was listed as a site for development by the council in 2016, to many objections from locals, but no action was taken until fences appeared in the community park on June 2024.

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Local children Bonnie Wright, 7, and brother Shuggie Wright, 6. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Several residents of the nearby high rise flats set up camp on the green in protest, and obstructed the work of contractors sent to perform drilling work.

The campaign was actively supported by local politicians including councillors Lezley Marion Cameron and Stephanie Smith, MSPs Sarah Boyack and Andy Wightman and MP Ian Murray.

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On July 6 the council announced that site investigations would be ‘postponed’, but did not give information on when or if they would recommence.

The council has now pledged to extend the postponement at least until preparations for the next Local Development Plan are complete at the end of 2021.

"It’s absolutely wonderful, the news seems to get better and better,” said secretary of the local residents’ association Neil Hansen.

"We’re absolutely ecstatic.”

George Jenkinson, 40, who has lived in one of the high rise flats for 12 years, was the first person to set up camp on the green.

"We wanted to do something to help, so we did, and it worked,” he said.

"The whole community just stepped in to stop it happening.

He added: "It’s our back garden, it’s the only freedom we have. It’s a very well used area, every day people are out there, everybody uses the space.

"We’re just standing up for what’s ours.

Mr Jenkinson said he was relieved to be getting back to his own bed after several weeks, but that he will not become complacent.

"There’s always a concern of them coming back, and there always will be,” he said.

"But if they come back we’ll campaign stronger.”

Mr Jenkinson said he would like to be involved with the consultations and determining the future of the park.

The council has said it wants to ‘rebuild trust’ with the community, and plans to consult with local residents about the future of the green once social distancing measures are relaxed.Mr Hansen said: “I get the impression the council bit off more they could chew with this, I don’t think they expected this level of opposition. It was a lot more proactive than it was in 2016.”

He added: “We don’t want to be complacent, we will make sure the area is not listed in the next Local Development Plan.”

Consultations will focus not only on the future of the park, but also on the state of the high rise flats, Mr Hansen said, adding that fire safety and window draughts were some things at the top of the association’s list of concerns.

"Rebuilding trust is in everyone’s interest, and it seems to be that the council want that as well, so we’re very encouraged by that,” he said.

"It was a very constructive meeting.”

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Edinburgh city council has been contacted for comment.