Residents fight Royal Botanic Garden ‘carbuncle’

Morris Grassie, David Carver, Marion Ralls and Alan Carson are upset at the Botanics' plans. Picture: Jane Barlow
Morris Grassie, David Carver, Marion Ralls and Alan Carson are upset at the Botanics' plans. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Residents fighting plans to build a “carbuncle” in one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods are calling on planning chiefs to block the bid.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in Inverleith has unveiled plans to build polytunnels and glasshouses for its nursery, but the application has been branded “brutalist” by furious residents.

Bosses of the famous garden said they had already made concessions in light of their fears and had scaled back the original plan.

But the householders maintain the proposals, which were the subject of a three-week consultation in February, will lead to light, noise and air pollution in the conservation area, where many homes are valued at more than £1 million.

The development – in the annexe of the Botanics – is surrounded on three sides by houses in Inverleith Gardens, Inverleith Avenue, Montagu Terrace and Inverleith Avenue South.

Protest group chairman Morris Grassie, who has lived in the area for 50 years, is to speak out against the proposals at an Edinburgh City Council hearing on Wednesday.

He said: “The gardens have made a couple of modifications to their plans, but they are still going to build a huge glasshouse which is right behind the wall of these listed buildings – it’s going to degenerate the area.

“The biggest problem we have is that they are not listening to us. They’re ploughing ahead with what they want to do but without consulting any of neighbours. This is a conservation area.”

Mr Grassie said the group believed an alternative location on lower ground would be better.

One resident, who did not want be named, described the development as a “carbuncle”.

He said: “Residents have won some concessions thanks to their strong campaign but they are not nearly enough.

“There will still be a huge greenhouse structure on high ground as opposed to the lower ground where it would be less obtrusive.”

Stockbridge and Inverleith Community Council has also objected to the plans.

A spokeswoman for the attraction said a number of concessions had been made to allay residents’ concerns.

She said: “We have 
contacted our neighbours to say that we no longer intend to build some parts of the nursery scheme.

“This includes the vehicle shed, which seemed to draw the most objection at the consultation stage, and removal of some lighting.

“The elements of the scheme that remain are vital to the project.

“Without the new glasshouse in the nursery, it won’t be possible to undertake the badly needed refurbishment of the research glasshouses on the main site, as we need somewhere to decant the plants to.”