Monday, 4 February 2013

Time is running out!

Caltongate Hotel on Canongate
The Mountgrange Caltongate planning consents will be 5 years old this year and the planning case supporting the development is now completely out of date having been written back in 2007 when things were very different. By 2010 even the council recognised the financial failings of the scheme and took back the land.

New office block Mountgrange style

Which makes the latest deal with new developers Artisan even more questionable!
This time round the council are willing to hand over Common Good Land, publicly owned and needed buildings and homes for even less money, no profit share and on the promise that existing planning consents can be extended to increase the speculative value of the land for the sole benefit of the developer (who can then land bank, demolish, replan, go bust or sell on without undertaking any new development).

East Market St Mountgrange Style

Whilst the new developers prepare for continued 'meaningful consultation' about a revised plan for the East Market St and New St/Canongate area, the rubber stamps are at the ready to extend the life of the old Mountgrange plans.
  • Surely these old plans need reconsidered against up to date information, at the very least a new economic and environmental appraisal is needed to justify demolition of listed buildings?
  • Do the planning department have all the relevant information and if so why is it not available to the public? 
  • Why has the report from the 'stakeholders workshop', conducted by an independent facilitator for Artisan and City of Edinburgh Council not been released yet (not even to those who participated) or included in the current applications as part of the pre application consultation evidence?
Yet the planning agents GVA Grimley have only provided extracts from their old Mountgrange reports (2007) as justification to approve the Section 42 applications for renewal of the hotel consent (which requires the demolition of 2 Listed buildings).

These significant and interdependent plans, which are all dependant on the demolition of listed buildings and much needed housing for the city centre are being rushed through the consultation process as if they were minor amendments to a house extension!

An updated economic and environmental impact study is required, particularly as one of the key elements to ensure 'sustainability' in the Mountgrange plans was the district heating/ground source system which has now been shelved.
A new case must be presented to justify the demolition of listed and unlisted buildings, in line with new Historic Scotland planning guidance (SHEP) and which takes account of the recent conservation, structural and feasibility studies into the importance and potential reuse of Canongate Venture.
The consultation period must therefore be extended to allow the public to comment on these core issues


  1. News just in that despite a lack of up to date info being submitted the planning portal will close for comments on 8th Feb as planned!


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