Today Edinburgh Council launched their Canal Strategy to develop a new 'canal culture' across communities stretching from Tollcross to Ratho. This strategy was put out to consultation last summer and whilst many support the development of environmental and access improvements to the Canal, concerns were again raised by local residents of the 'planned' developments beside the canal corridor. Any concerns raised about the proposed canal side developments were dismissed as being the subject of Local Plan proposals and development frameworks.
But is the Local Plan working?
In the Local Plan the masterplans and development briefs (now more than 5 years old) for Caltongate, Quartermile, and Fountainbridge are identified as the development propsals which will deliver offices, leisure and retail units, tourist and business developments as well as (the only) new housing planned for the city centre. Whilst there are plenty of empty available offices around the city centre, and continued intrest for developing additional hotels, delivery of approved housing development in the city centre has not been successful.
The recently produced Local Plan Monitoring Report states only 247 of the approved 1069 residential units have been completed at Quartermile, only 77 of the 1206 approved residential units have been completed at Fountainbridge and no development has been achieved at Caltongate.
Many communities feel it is now necessary to take a lead in the planning process and come forward with their own visions for the development of their neighbourhoods.
Acttive citizens in the Tollcross/Fountainbridge area are taking the lead in their community and are holding an event next Saturday.
It is time that Councillors listened to their constituents and ensure officials embrace community led initiatives to find solutions which are economically and socially sustainable.