Thursday, 10 January 2008

To demolish or not to demolish

26 days to go... In The Scotsman today there is a piece stating how Historic Scotland is backing Caltongate Developers articlehere
To see Historic Scotlands Full response click on this link HSresponse then click on Associated Documents, then click on View Associated Documents, then scroll down until you see the Historic Scotland document dated 20th December 2007. Sorry but thats the only way to do it via the councils planning portal.

You can read what the Status and Role of Historic Scotland is here HistoricScotland

It is known in the conservation world that Mountgrange Developer Manish Chande and Historic Scotland`s Malcolm Cooper are friends.
Manish Chande was appointed by Tessa Jowell as a Commissioner of English Heritage. Sept 2003, where he is also on their Finance and Business Committees.
"Malcolm Cooper spent ten years with English Heritage before joining Historic Scotland in April last year". (2005, same year as first Caltongate Masterplan unveiled)


From the article
"More than its southern equivalent, its word is law. As Cooper puts it "English Heritage advises the minister, in Scotland we are the minister."

"The most glaring symbol of Cooper's deliberate change of emphasis has been Caltongate, the £200m plan proposed by English developer Mountgrange to convert part of Edinburgh's historic old town. This involves knocking a hole in part of the old tenement streetscape of the Canongate to improve access to a complex containing shops and a five start hotel.
Cooper explains that once the decision was taken to approve the masterplan for regeneration of the old town seen as vital to the city's future needs, Historic Scotland saw the importance of facilitating what it was convinced was for greater economic good of the city."

Ron Hewitt, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: "Meeting Malcolm and hearing his views has been a breath of freshair.

Manish Chande is the Chamber`s Property Policy Group Chairman
go to the June-July issue of their comment magazine see page 2 - 6 of

Todays Evening News has a good letter in response to the misleading article printed on the 8th Feb -

Threat hovers over Old Town
IT is simply not true to suggest the MacRae flats in the Canongate have been saved (News, January 8).The latest submissions by the developers Mountgrange do propose that most of the facade of the building would be retained. But the flats behind the facade would disappear to be replaced by "de luxe" hotel bedrooms. Ordinary people would still be evicted from their homes and the Old Town would lose even more of its socially mixed character and go a step further towards being a Disneyland-style stage-set.Our councillors can refuse the planning application. More fundamentally they can refuse to sell the land on the Canongate which the council owns and send Mountgrange homeward to think again.Robert Cairns, Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh