£500m Granton Harbour developers say 'jobs are at risk' as they blast council 'failures'
A row over Edinburgh City Council's handling of planning applications surrounding the £500 million Granton Marina development has seen the developers warn that jobs are at risk due to the council’s “failures”.
The plans which aim to deliver more than 1,800 new homes and a hotel were finally given the go-ahead after Court of Session dismissed an earlier appeal by the council who had hoped to force the developers, Edinburgh Marina Holdings Ltd. to resubmit their proposals.
After several delays on the site, the developers have been forced to appeal to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) of the Scottish Government due to a row over road access.
The developers, operating under the company Granton Central Developments Ltd (GCDL) had requested permission to build a set of access roads and pavements around the site of the planned hotel and residential development, but appealed to the DPEA after the council failed to make a decision within a two month statutory period.
In its appeal statement, the comapny offered a firm rebuke to the council, blaming it for delays to construction and claiming the council is deliberately attempting to “thwart the legitimate attempts” to redevelop the site.
They state: "It should be noted that over the last year GCDL has been forced to submit three appeals against decisions by the City of Edinburgh Council, all of which have been upheld by the Reporter.
“Three further appeals, not including this one, have been submitted following the failure of City of Edinburgh Council to reach timeous decisions in relation to non-material variation applications.
“As a whole, and as discussed further in subsequent sections of this statement, the actions of the Council in relation to these applications appear to be an effort to thwart the legitimate attempts of GCDL to redevelop the site despite it being supported by both the Local Development Plan and the Council’s Granton Waterfront Development Framework.”
The developers added that the failure of the council to respond to planning applications, despite the impact on the planning service due to Covid-19, marks a “pattern of behaviour” which is putting jobs, housing and investment “at risk”.
The statement continues: “The appellant is now concerned that these delays represent a pattern of behaviour which is frustrating development in this location. Badly needed jobs, investment and housing are being put at risk because of the failure by the City of Edinburgh Council to determine GCDL’s applications.
"In terms of the variation applications referred to at 7.1, experience has revealed protracted processing times and endless and repeated requests for trivial details and in several cases irrelevant information requests which have resulted in a loss of confidence in the Council’s ability, or willingness, to process such applications in a timeous manner.
“Now that restrictions have begun to be lifted the applicant anticipates a quick start on construction projects and sees appeal as the only means of delivering the permissions necessary to allow this to happen."
A spokesperson for Edinburgh City Council said: “This relates to a live planning appeal and so it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment.”