Green-fingered couple devastated as new Fountainbridge curved glass office block will ruin their garden

FROM apples to courgettes to peppers to tomatoes, Kate Ho and her partner Celia Richards have been growing every vegetable possible since they moved into the aptly-named Gardner’s Crescent in Fountainbridge two years ago.

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 4:31 pm
Kate Ho with some of her fresh garden produce.

But that could all change as plans for a six-storey curved glass office block 50 metres away were narrowly approved by the city council last week.

Ms Ho and Ms Richards' garden, already with very little light due to the buildings around it, could be set to lose all but around three hours of light a day due to the new build.

The green-fingered Fountainbridge couple were devastated to hear about the plans, and have done their best to campaign against the construction going ahead.

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Kate Ho and Celia Richards' garden.

“We thought we would live here for 20 years or more, and then for someone to shove a giant great building in the way two years in is pretty upsetting," said Ms Ho.

“The council said that because we already have light levels so low they don’t meet required standards it’s ok to reduce them even further.”

When they found out about the planning process, the couple realised not everyone in the area had received the notification letter, so they printed and hand-delivered over 300 copies to all the people affected.

Ms Ho, 38, Head of Innovation Labs at Sainsbury’s Bank, discovered a love of gardening four years ago. Even while living in a fourth-floor flat without a garden, she had tried to grow vegetables.

“Something just clicked and I just really wanted to grow stuff,” she said.

She and her partner Celia, 34, chose their house on Gardner’s Crescent specifically because of the garden which came with it.

“We were really happy to find a place in the centre of town with a garden,” Ms Ho said.

She was so excited that when they bought the house she took a week off work to dig over and prepare the garden.

Now the couple spend seven to eight hours a week working on it during the Spring and Summer months.

They love it so much they have even begun to cultivate their neighbours’ garden for them, growing fruit for everyone to share.

The couple are dismayed by the prospect of not having enough light to grow vegetables, and don’t want to be forced into moving house.

“Why should we move?” Ms Ho said. “There’s tons office space around here, I just don’t get it. I can walk around in five minutes and see so many signs for office space to let.”

The planned crescent-shaped building will fit into the Exchange office complex, creating a large circle.

The developers, EP3 Devco Limited, said the building will “create a tailored, individual and flexible office that will provide much-needed grade A office space.”