Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Caltongate Battle Not Over Yet

Trump at Menie Links

Worth a watch tonight is a half hour show 10.35pm BBC1 Scotland. It all sounds too familiar doesn`t it? Except this time its in a rural setting with an American waving a chequebook.

"A unique landscape, the power of the dollar, and a billionaire used to getting his own way. These are the ingredients for a documentary which investigates the feud surrounding Donald Trump’s bid to create “the best golf course in the world”.
Issues of planning consent; the balance between progress and environmental destruction; and the emotional attachment to the land are all explored in
Campaign Menie Not Money

Chande in Edinburgh`s Princes St Gardens

Well, its definitely not the campaign`s press releases that get printed word for word in the paper, its very difficult to get much in at all....we don`t have Donald Anderson`s heavyweight PR firm PPS Group behind us for a start, only the wish to fight for the best for the city. Below is what is in the Evening News today and following is the full press release sent out last week.

Caltongate fight 'will go on' Evening News

PROTESTERS fighting against the controversial Caltongate development have vowed to continue their campaign despite the final piece of the jigsaw being approved.
Save Our Old Town, the action group which has fought against the huge redevelopment project since the outset, has reaffirmed its commitment to taking its protest to the highest level.
They are also hoping for a public inquiry, they said.
A spokesman for the campaign said: "It is far from over.
"The plans have to go to the Scottish ministers for a final decision.

"Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, SNP MSP Shirley Ann Somerville, Green MSP Robin Harper and architect James Simpson are among the many individuals and organisations calling for greater scrutiny of the plans and this could mean a public inquiry."

Campaign Press Release

"Caltongate Battle Not Over Yet" say Edinburgh World Heritage Site campaigners

Most of the controversial Caltongate development won support from Edinburgh City Council at the planning committee last month. This came as no surprise to objectors considering the council has a major financial interest in the project. The land deal between the council and Mountgrange was only to go ahead on the granting of planning permission.

The Committee had asked developers Mountgrange to come back with an alternative to the destruction of all but the facades of the Canongate tenement buildings.

So when developer Mountgrange altered the application to propose retaining the "majority" of the front and rear elevations of the McRae tenements as well as preserving the buildings at 221-223 on the historic street, the city's planning committee approved the plans yesterday.

Save Our Old Town campaigner Sally Richardson said today

"The whole tenements thing was a carefully stage managed sideshow, a smokescreen to hide amongst other things, the demolitions like that of the listed Canongate Venture , the building of the controversial Malcolm Fraser block that will ruin Jeffrey Street and the overall total inappropriateness of the architecture, for the World Heritage Site"

She added " Its also to distract from the many legal concerns such as the complaints that are currently been investigated by the EU Commission, due to the extent that Mountgrange may have been provided with privileged access and offered exclusive consideration in pursuance of its commercial objectives; Mountgrange`s donation to the Labour Party; the actions of Donald Anderson during his period as council leader should also be scrutinised, given that he is now director of the developers PR firm PPS Group; the clear breach of Article 7 of the Standards Commission (Scotland) code of conduct in the case of Planning Committee convenor Jim Lowrie, because of his views expressed in the Edinburgh Evening News of 11th October 2007, and these are only a few"

John Thompson another campaigner added "I have seen it all before - they'll just tell us its progress, like the St James's Centre, but money was made there and money will be made from its demolition and replacement, by no other than Caltongate`s main architect Allan Murray who it seems has been made Edinburgh makeover king"

But it is far from over; the plans have to go to Scottish Ministers for a final decision. Independent MSP Margo Macdonald, SNP MSP Shirley Ann Somerville, Green MSP Robin Harper and Conservation Architect James Simpson are among the many individuals and organisations calling for greater scrutiny of the plans and this could mean a Public Inquiry.
"We'll keep fighting' says SOOT.