Monday, 19 April 2010

Back to the drawing board

Now that the sale of public assets and Common Good Land at East Market St to Mountgrange has been successfully challenged through the European Commission it is time for the council to rethink their strategy for the Waverley Valley.
Back in 2005 when the Caltongate Masterplan was first revealed to the public, members of SOOT put forward alternative ideas for development which would address the real needs of the area and provide a strategy for development.

Despite numerous concerns being voiced during the masterplan consultations  (in particular at the workshops and the well attended Community Planning Day ) Mountgrange's Caltongate masterplan was agreed with little consideration given to the issues and aspirations raised in consultation. This then formed the blueprint for approving the planning applications which followed.

It was clear to many at the time that the plan was not a masterplan but a detailed plan for an enormous, speculative, commercial development which allowed one developer total control over a very big site (which had been enlarged by the councils agreement to the off market sale of public assets). Many also felt the whole planning process was heavily influenced by the land deal with Mountgrange and should have been called in by Scottish Government.

Now we have an opportunity to review the sale of this key piece of land, and reconsider if it really is surplus to requirements.
Perhaps those in control will now recognise the true value of the site on East Market Street to support the economic, social and environmental health of those who live and work in the Canongate as was highlighted in the Canongate Project film
It is time to tear up the Caltongate masterplan and start again, but this time work alongside heritage and community groups to create a new more resilient development brief for the area.

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