A campaign to save the city’s historic Inch Park from the threat of new builds planned by Edinburgh City Council has been backed by residents following the publication of the City Plan 2030 vision document.
The document shows the council's plan to build between 465 and 813 houses in Inch Park Plant Nursery which residents think will be ‘disastrous’ for their community.
Launched by Inch Community Association (ICA), the petition calls for a halt to the housing development and has gained over 1500 signatures in three days.
The community group says the new builds will ruin the “unique character and integrity” of the green space loved by many in the city, adding that the council has made no attempt to share its plans for the development with the local community leading to calls for greater transparency.
A spokesperson from the ICA said: “Such a development would destroy the unique character of Inch Park forever.
“Instead of trees, there would be a view of concrete, and instead of people, there would be hundreds of extra cars crossing Inch Park daily as the new residents inevitably use the existing road through the park as a ‘rat run’. This cannot be allowed to happen.”
Concerned residents are fearful they may lose their green space and have joined together to protest the development.
Many older locals remember the park from their childhoods and say it has a special place in their hearts.
Jeannie Martin, who grew up near the park and is now raising her children in the area, wants to keep it’ safe.
She said: “I grew up in the Inch, the Inch House was my Primary School and play area, my memories of the Inch park are amazing.
“My two kids also grew up here, don’t let this beautiful piece of land be destroyed, leave this special park for the people.”
Many share Ms Martin’s concern and others think that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic should have given the council a better appreciation of what green spaces mean to communities.
Another local resident, Lezley Cameron said: “It is vital that this important space, which is much loved and well used by the community, is preserved. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of green space and outdoor activity to our mental and physical well-being.”
Edinburgh councillor Neil Gardiner said: “There is no current proposal for housing on Inch Park. Earlier in the year there was a consultation called ‘Choices for City Plan 2030’. Inch Nursery which is adjacent to the public park was identified as one of many potential sites to be considered for much needed housing as part of the housing analysis work carried out for our next local development plan - City Plan 2030. As these are choices not all the potential sites may be taken forward. The council is therefore currently carefully considering all of the comments made during the consultation and will take a proposed Plan to a future committee. At that stage we’ll consider whether to include this site as a potential area for housing. In all of this there is a recognition of the importance of open space.”