Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Council throws out waste station bid

Wall E seems to have found Allan Murray`s inspiration for his Cube Building
flung up in the Nasty Noughties of the 21st Century,

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a waste transfer station in Portobello have been thrown out by councillors.
This morning they voted to reject the development of a £7 million road-to-rail transfer station in the former rail freight yard off Sir Harry Lauder Road.Waste management company Viridor had the backing of Edinburgh City Council officers for its plans. But councillors rejected their recommendations by 11 votes to three.They argued the station - which would see hundreds of bin lorries deposit waste every day - would be detrimental to the local community, because of the smell.Protestors made their views heard at a demonstration outside the city chambers before the four-hour meeting, arguing such a development was not suitable in a residential area.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Caltongate Hotel Cancelled

French Hotel Group Accor may pull out of Caltongate, as 5 star Hotels are lying empty at what should be Edinburgh`s busiest time of year

Headlines today say it all -
Scottish hotel downturn worst in Britain as trade plunges by 7% Scotsman

Stage set for a difficult year as rooms remain empty before Festival Scotsman

Waste depot protesters call for demo at city chambers on Wednesday 30th July

The campaign group Portobello Opposes New Waste Site, or Pongs, has urged people to attend next week's planned protest. It has the backing of Edinburgh East MP Gavin Strang, who this week wrote to every member of the council's planning committee to outline local concerns.Mr Strang said it was only the second time in 30 years that he had felt compelled to make such a move. "This is the wrong site, no question, and I am very concerned that the views of my constituents are properly heard," he said. Robert Gatliff, the chairman of Portobello Community Council, agreed that local residents were very concerned that Viridor was looking to force through a development in the wrong place."There is also the worry that this site could be used for something else in future, such as a passenger rail terminal or even a tram terminal, but if this rubbish depot is constructed that will no longer be a possibility and the people here will lose out."

A spokesman for Viridor said the company planned to create a "state-of-the-art facility"."The facility will reduce traffic volumes and reduce CO2 emissions by 42 per cent," he said. "This is achieved by shifting transport of waste from road to rail, bringing an important rail freight facility back into long-term viable use. "Vehicles using the facility will mainly operate outside peak traffic times and will use Sir Harry Lauder Road, thus not contributing significantly to traffic levels in the area." Full Article 22nd July

Viridor the waste company use PPS Group the controversial PR company run in Scotlan, by none other than Caltongate Devotee Donald Anderson, former Nu Labour leader of City of Edinburgh`s Council Planners give Nod 25th July 08

PPS Group motto -"Call PPS if need to undertake community consultation or if you feel your scheme may run into political or community opposition." hotlinehere

So you can be sure this is a scheme which is no good for anyone other than the folk wanting to build it and run it, miles and miles away from their homes and communities of course!

If you can help then get yourself up to the City Chambers from 8.15 am - the meeting starts at 9am

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Regeneration Blues

Dedicated to all in Britain and everywhere in the world,
who are being trampled on in the pursuit of progress?
How can we stop this monster machine driven
by the few over the many?

Regeneration Blues

Once upon a time

In days of old

Great minds tried to figure

How to turn metal

Into gold

They dreamed of the day

When a chunk of iron

Could make them rich

Turn junk into treasure

A magic formula

They failed

Never found it

But the news is: it's happened near you.

In the city centres

Along by the canals

And the old railway yards

Land worth a little

Is now worth a lot

The same patch of mud

Sitting under a shed

Under an old shop

Car park or cinema

Has turned into gold.

In the town halls

Councillors get excited:

“That old street

full of shops

run by people from

Africa, Turkey, the Middle East

With flats up above –

Aren't they on short lease

Cos we were once

Going to put a road through there?

That old pool

That old school

Don’t we own that?

You know what?

Get developers in:

No time to wait

Reeee – generate.



Buy to rent

For young professionals

Yo-pros, don't you know.

Change the geography

Change the demography

So the developers arrive

With their brochures

And sharp shoes

Their power points

and bullet points

They've done the sums

they can make it work

If the council plays a part:

If it compensates


Covers losses

Shares the load

Builds a road

It's a partnership

Public private

Private public

The area will be



The deal is done

But the law says 'Consult'

A meeting is held

And on the screen

The derelict sheds

And the crumbling shops

'Look!', they say,

'The area will die.

We'll build towers of steel and glass

To the sky.

'Towers full of the salaried and sleek

Towers with no old people or babies

Towers for people who need gifts and coffee

Only available from brandname shops.

'Transport links will improve

'Say the councillors we elect'

Everyone will benefit, don't object

There'll be a new library.

In there...


'The meeting is noisy

The shopkeepers say

The tenants say

They want to stay

People say

They want the Turkish bread

And the Indian rice.

Someone says that the buildings are old

They could be restored

Why take away memories

They used to make places

Where we could walk about

Squares and cul-de-sacs

Not canyons between tower blocks.

Someone says

We're desperate for places where families can live

Places where kids can play

Clinics on hand, not miles away

And ground floor flats for the old and disabled

The meeting ends in a riot

When one of the councillors

Says: people round here have no ambition

They want to live in a dump

And the people in it

Are the dregs on drugs

It goes to committee

And five men sit and take a vote

It goes 2-2

He's in favour of high-rise

A great leap forward for the community

A revolution in thinking, a retail opportunity.

The shopkeepers and tenants have to quit.

Someone digs in files and papers

And finds that the chairman of the committee

Is on the board of a firm

That will supply the locks

In the high-rise blocks.

To declare an interest

But it's too late to stop.

History doesn't matter

The people who live there don't matter

The people who run shops don't matter

People who need places for people who have kids

Don't matter

Nurseries, clinics, opens spaces, good cheap housing,

Don't matter

Look say the councillors


And they don't mean

Of the developers' bank accounts.

As the blocks go up

It's income up

But it's us who subsidize

Private high-rise

Regeneration is a lie

Regeneration is a lie

Regeneration is



Is degeneration

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Good News For Shoreditch

Built in 1893, this former power station is an historic landmark. It is the first building that you see in Hackney when you approach from the City and as such it separates two very different areas. A 53 storey tower block is proposed – threatening 233 Shoreditch High Street with demolition

Well at least in Hackney councillors have a bit of balls to stand up for their constituents and not to always go with big business and their city planners Planners back Demolitions well for the moment anyway -

Remember our councillors with their snouts in the trough

Caltongate Decision 6th Feb 2008

OPEN’s campaign to Save Shoreditch from invasion by City office towers won an important victory at Hackney Town Hall on Thursday evening when objectors persuaded Planning Committee members not to approve the 51-storey Bishops Place tower block in south Shoreditch.Open Shoreditch Blog

Save The Light Campaign

Matt Johson of band The The is a member of the campaign Save Shoreditch in London and the voiceover for their excellent campaign Video Here

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Oracle Speaks

Architect Malcolm Fraser enjoying his Caltongate Masterpiece
Photo from SOOT Bloid see more at
The following is from an article entitled Malcolm Fraser objects to Planners full piece here - ArchitectureScotland from 24 Jun 2008
The piece is very confusing, perhaps Malcolm is beginning to realise the errors of his ego but still cannot see he has been part of the problem, ach as Rabbie Burns would say "if only we could see ourselves as others see us"
He says -
"Usually traditional Planners get poor press; but my recent experience of them in Edinburgh, picking their way sure-footedly through the maelstrom of the "Caltongate" process, has left me with great respect for what they can achieve when they are properly-resourced and concentrate on their statutory role. However, where traditional amenity planning should lead, there is now a perception that it is only one of a four-headed monster, made up of often conflicting design leaders."
The only piece where he loves the city`s planners, perhaps because they love his Caltongate masterpiece???

"First, there is the Heritage Lobby: a diverse bunch, ranging from an increasingly-surefooted Historic Scotland through to the toxic wing, led by a desurgent Cockburn Association.
There are significant sections of the lobby that forget that it is architects and master-masons and not them that have led the conception and adornment of this breathtaking city, and believe that design leadership is now somehow theirs."
This is what Malcolm Fraser has said about Malcolm Cooper of Historic Scotland!
"Malcolm is great because he puts himself around, he comes and sees people and he is interested in listening as well as talking."Historic Scotland has changed. The understanding of the value of heritage is evolving, and I welcome their readiness to enjoy good modern work."

And do remember -
Caltongate Developer Manish Chande is a Commissioner of English Heritage as well as being on their finance and business committees. Cooper moved from English Heritage in April 2005 to Historic Scotland. Mountgrange bought the New Street site "known as Caltongate" in late 2004

"New Urbanism is a very different disciple from traditional amenity planning. For all its faults the amenity agenda can be bent to support the things that I care about in building happy communities: sunshine, view, fresh air, gathering places etc." Have a look at your building above Malcolm!!

"The new Dundee waterfront is a New Urbanist "utopia", with its "joined-up" urbanist blocks a solid wall of mediocrity blocking most of the city from the sun glinting off the silty, silvery Tay." Again look at your own buildings!

Then its me, me, me -
"My practice has won the Edinburgh Architectural Association's "Building of the Year" five times in the last ten years and I lecture on the city, on behalf of the city, frequently. On what basis am I to understand that some architect who has - let's say Ð built a couple of hospitals abroad, taken a Planning course and been appointed as an Edinburgh Design Planner, should lord-it over me, secure in his superiority?"

"The last big issue is how the Council procures its own work. My practice regularly wins work from other authorities but has not, to date, been able to from our own city. Scotland's three Stirling finalists reside in Edinburgh, but we three have submitted maybe forty times for work and have never even been shortlisted. (On a project like the Grassmarket, which I was instrumental in initiating, and even raised finance for, the "reason" I was given for not making the OJEU second stage being the truly-numbing "...that we lacked experience in the historic built-environment of the Old Town".) "
Currently Allan "award winning architect" Murray gets all the jobs, why? see earlier postings on this wee man fae New Town Glenrothes.

"These are all reasons for Edinburgh to change its behaviour; but there are also reasons to believe that this might happen. What I would like to see (at both local and national level) is our Heads of Planning concentrating on doing their own job a bit better, and getting their tanks off our lawn."
Fighting talk Malcolm!

"We also need to rid ourselves of our planning obsession with what things look like, and care instead about how they work - concentrating on getting our infrastructure right before we start to think about how to form buildings and space to suit our aspirations, rather than making re-heated Victoriana our starting point." Well this says it all Malcolm!

And now he`s really getting cross -

"And somebody needs to audit the performance of Design Champions and identify the best model while, in Edinburgh, Farrell and Marini need to learn how to be useful. (I note that Council Leader, Jenny Dawe, has asked for better links to Planning in Farrell`s second term, but I believe that much more work is needed to cement that relationship)."

Now he gets Dave Anderson is a high flyer from the Oil Industry...just the man eh Malcolm!

The best news is that we have a new Director of City Development, Dave Anderson, and are soon to get a new Head of Planning, and we have to believe that they will bring a fresh perspective to bear: re-assert and resource traditional Planning, utilise our creative talent, bring the Design Champion into useful play, invest small sums wisely and create the framework necessary to reinvigorate our city.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Saving Edinburgh Continues

The Future Haymarket

IAN ROSS questions the change being foisted upon Scotland's capital

I BELIEVE we are now in a crisis in my home city of Edinburgh as bad, if not worse, than the destruction and damage that took place in the 1960s. Vested interests are being given free rein to exploit every available site. Now even Unesco is worried about the status of our World Heritage Site. I believe that the plans now approved and those in the planning process are such that Edinburgh no longer deserves the status granted by Unesco.

We hear time and again from those in positions of influence that Edinburgh is losing out on investment to Manchester and Glasgow. Good for them – Edinburgh does not need it. Only those with a benefit to gain seem to be worried.

We are destroying the very essence of the city by over-development and a rush to make it bigger. I see no benefit for the ordinary citizen. Extra people will not pay for the upgrading of schools – they will mean more children requiring schooling, more traffic, etc.

The supposition being put out is that if we fight against these developments Edinburgh will lose out – well I hope we do. Will Edinburgh become a less wonderful place to live if we do not have Caltongate, if we chuck out the plans for a 17-storey hotel at Haymarket, if we tell Forth Ports we do not want their nine villages, or if we return the St James Centre to something that is an asset to the city, not another eyesore to replace the current one? The Scotsman 8th July

New wave of 'philistines' poses a major threat to the capital's historic skyline, claims DAVID BLACK

Caltongate Developer Manish Chande (right) with his partner in crime Martin Myers

THOSE of us with long memories might just recall the early Seventies, when Edinburgh University's firebrand student rector, a certain Gordon Brown, established "the rector's working party on planning".The shared objective among enlightened citizens at that point was to scupper the manic demolition proposals which the philistine triumvirate of university bigwigs, property plutocrats and a right-of-centre "progressive" (no irony intended) town council had drawn up a decade earlier for the historic Southside of Edinburgh.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown when a young student
Among other things, Brown and his troublesome cabal produced a couple of polemical booklets under the aegis of the Edinburgh University Student Publications Board. The Forgotten Southside and The Unmaking of Edinburgh may not have been classics of the printmaker's art, and the standard of spelling left something to be desired, as contributor Robin Cooke (sic) discovered, but they caught and reflected a growing public mood and helped to turn the tide in a historic city that was, in a very real sense, under attack.
As a result the Buchanan Road proposals, the university's 1963 comprehensive development area plans, the flagrant misuse of the Section 13 (Dangerous Buildings) notice, and an equally wanton disregard for the legislation which had been enacted to protect our listed buildings were placed beyond the reach of the scorched-earth planning Ba'athists and their philistine henchmen.

A new age of holistic urban harmony was ushered in as the Crown Estate commissioners spent some of their North Sea oil gains on the restoration of Nicolson Street, housing associations translated derelict tenements into good-quality homes, a Georgian church scheduled for demolition became a community centre and another nearby became home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Saved - The Queens Hall
The crowning achievement, perhaps, was when the establishment saw the error of its bad old ways and delivered a volte-face by declaring both the Southside and the Old Town outstanding conservation areas, clearing the way for central Edinburgh's designation as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Ah, but we were so much older then, we're younger than that now! While we all retired from the scene, quietly convinced that the forces of philistinism had been well and truly routed, little did we guess that their discredited remnants would regroup a quarter of a century later, well provisioned by corporate largesse, and ride forth under a gleaming new banner – "The Rebranding of Britain".

Saved - Southside Community Centre
PR whizz-kids softened us up with siren rhetoric about how a city like ours, while it might be cute in a sort of old-fashioned way, really had to move with the times if it was to survive. The choice, we were told, was between "Modernity or Heritage" and this meant that we had to have lots 'n' lots of flashy new-built icons.

The corporates and bureaucrats brought in a selected breed of architects to perpetrate a number of truly awesome aesthetic crimes within the world heritage site, such as the hideous Omni Centre and some daft, upturned Holyrood boats, which were meant to be symbolic of the "New Scotland". Objectors were characterised as the enemies of progress.

There were, of course, some good new buildings. Few would question the dignified urban presence of Saltire Court, or the delightful quirkiness of the Scottish Poetry Library. But, more and more, the desire to squeeze as much revenue-generating floorplate out of a site as possible dictated the outcome as our planners cravenly acquiesced to the increasingly avaricious demands of behemoth developers, while telling the rest of us that we wurnae allowed to have window boxes on a listed building, or whatever.

Let's take a rain check here. Right now, in our elegant capital city, one developer's PR machine is schmoozing us with the idea that Edinburgh's skyline of spires and domes clearly embraces the idea of vertical emphasis, so wouldn't it make sense to erect a skyscraper atop the St James Centre?

Another developer, with the apparent support of the very council which is meant to be protecting our civic virtue, intends to tear down listed buildings in the Old Town and erect a bloated sprawl of aesthetically-bankrupt, commercial ticky-tacky that will degrade the historic environment more than anything which was ever proposed in the philistine 1960s.

Vintage Concrete
Back in fashion in all major cities

In this fine city of ours, which should have had a metro years ago, we are extorting money from traders and residents for a tram system that will connect the Gyle with Leith waterfront, doing nothing for most of the citizenry.

We mustn't kid ourselves – this city of ours, this sublime capital of an ancient nation, is under siege, not from the Barbarian hordes of yore, but from the oleaginous blandishments of Mammon and his sticky-fingered minions.

It is, of course, grossly unfair to generalise, for development can be benign, as well as malign, but the evidence of our eyes tells us that the balance is drifting inexorably away from the good towards the bad and the downright ugly. They have the cash and they can afford to fête and flatter and feed their guff to the media courtesy of an impressive PR juggernaut, which even includes former city councillors.

Former Labour Council Leader Donald Anderson (pro Caltongate when in office now Director of PR ccompany PPSGroup, who Caltongate Developers Mountgrange use)

Isn't it time we did something about this? Obviously, we can't afford to commission a PR company, but we can at least pick up our pens and scribble. If a dozen of us – some old, some new – could each write a 2,000-word essay on the current shenanigans, couldn't we set the tumbrels rolling, or at least encourage a reassessment of our current approach to planning and development?

There is a rich and diverse range of subjects which could be tackled – our PPP hospital, the great tram adventure, the Caltongate scandal, and even the screwing-up of some essentially brilliant ideas, like the over-designed nonsense recently perpetrated in St Andrew's Square Gardens.

The trumpet has sounded! Rise up, ye sons and daughters of Edina, your city needs you at this hour!

Get in touch with The Save Our Old Town Campaign


David J Black is author of All the First Minister's MenThe Scotsman 18th July 08.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Vandalism of Edinburgh

Mark Cummings PR supervandal for all developments that stink , collects his wages
Today we must catch up on all the news, on our holidays at the moment so daily postings not possible -- but one thing is clear we must all write to UNESCO asap - To inform the World Heritage Committee about the threats to Edinburgh write to - Committee's Secretariat at -
It's time to turf vandals at the 'gate out of office

Letters Evening News 15th July 2008
"YESTERDAY I (and presumably the other 2000 objectors to the Caltongate affair) received a letter from dear old Edinburgh City Council informing me that the first phase of demolition work in the course of the Caltongate development had been approved, and will shortly commence.
My computer dictionary defines the word 'vandalism' as "deliberate, mischievous, or malicious destruction – or damage – of property" (particularly in regard to public property). Who are the greater vandals – the 16-year-olds spraying their tags on a building wall, or the councillors and council officers who have driven through the Caltongate abomination against significant local objection, and failed the people they were elected and appointed to serve? It is time to clean the hive, and I appeal to every one of my fellow voters to vote for anyone except your sitting councillor at the next council election ... and if you like the idea, tell someone else about it: let's dump the whole lot and start again. Voting in a clean council would only be the start, because the new council should be pressed to dismiss those council officers who significantly promoted the worst depredations of its predecessor."
Evening News 16th July 08 Tory Cooncillor Rose (who voted for Caltongate on the planning committee in Feb 08) rabbles on trying to justify the vandalism committed against the city ...really you should be ashamed of yourself and do good in your retirement from the police.
Architect Peter Wilson has something to say on Rebus Rose Rantings
Thorny Subject
Still in Edinburgh, Planning Committee member, Councillor Cameron Rose, has taken it upon himself to expose the architectural and urban design credentials that made him an obvious choice for the job. The retired police inspector feels a “legislative look” at Historic Scotland’s listing policy should be taken, a viewpoint formed from his bewilderment that a building such as the Royal Commonwealth Pool by RMJM could possibly merit it’s A-listed status.
Showing a commendable appreciation of 1960’s architecture, Councillor Rose feels that “it’s debatable whether it has historic significance”. His real beef, however, is with a listing process that allowed two C category buildings to impede the Council’s eagerness to appease the developer of the Caltongate site next to its new headquarters. As with so many of his colleagues, he is happy to repeat the public relations rhetoric that the proposed project is “creating a new living community” in the heart of the Old Town, encouraging the thought that perhaps it is the city’s Planning Committee itself that merits a legislative look at some of its recent decisions.
Article on Architecture Scotland
Then in the Times Article July 17th 08 an unnamed vandal says -
"A spokesman for Mountgrange, the property company that is developing the £300 million site next to the Royal Mile in the Old Town, said that work was likely to begin before Christmas. He added that the scheme would reflect “the way we live today whilst respecting the past”. (Pass the sickbag, quick!)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Our Friends in the West!

Cold comfort - it's no just the Canongate. Developments developments ....ever where you look are developments. Big business rules! Funny isn't it? Glasgow gets an other giant Tescos. The M77 went ahead despite the protests from local activists and environmentalists. The Silverburn Centre was built once the M77 was completed now has Britain's biggest Tesco in Pollok. Who owns Silverburn? - Philip Green. Who is Philip Green? He's the guy who lives in Jersey (avoids British taxation) who gave Charlie Gordon (ex-leader of Glasgow Council and MSP) money for Wendy Alexander, who then had to resign for taking money for taking money from outside Britain.

Green light for TescoTown plan

Exclusive by Vivienne Nicoll

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has won its controversial fight for planning permission for a huge supermarket and hundreds of flats in Partick.

Earlier this year, a two week public inquiry was held in Glasgow into two sets of plans by the company for a site near the bottom of Byres Road.

One was for a large scale development with a 7435sq m superstore, 653 student flats, 220 private flats and leisure uses on the banks of the River Kelvin, the other was for a stand alone superstore.

DECEMBER 2005: Tesco unveils a blueprint for a superstore, 1300 student flats and 300 private apartments in Partick.

JANUARY 2006: Locals begin organising a campaign of opposition while SPT transport chiefs warn they may block the plan.

SEPTEMBER: The supermarket attempts to appease critics with a revised plan featuring a huge store and just 900 student flats.

OCTOBER: The changes fail to win people over. Over 700 objections are lodged with the city council.

APRIL 2007: Tesco triggers more anger by demolishing an historic railway station in the West End.

JUNE: The supermarket lodges a second application in case Tesco Town fails - a store in Beith Street.

OCTOBER: Opponents take their battle to the Scottish Parliament.

JUNE 26: The Evening Times revealed store chiefs had failed to buy land needed for the flats.

JULY 18: We revealed the Reporter to the public inquiry into the development backs Tesco Town.

The Evening Times has discovered the Reporter to the public inquiry has thrown out the plan for the smaller of the two developments but backed what has been dubbed the Tesco Town scheme.

The decision has shocked local councillors and campaigners who fought against the Tesco proposals on the grounds of traffic congestion and pollution.

However despite the decision to grant planning permission, it is still not clear if the store and flats will get off the ground.

Last month, the Evening Times exclusively revealed that Glasgow City Council agreed to sell a piece of land in Beith Street, which is vital if the larger development is to go-ahead, to Glasgow Harbour for £4.1million.

Without that land, it is unlikely the superstore and flats can be built.

But if an agreement can be reached with Glasgow Harbour, Tesco Town now has the official go-ahead.

Partick West councillor Aileen Colleran admitted she was stunned by the decision to grant planning permission.

She said: "I am disappointed because I felt the case against Tesco was very strong.

"The one ray of light is that the Reporter to the public inquiry has not recommended the stand alone store for planning permission.

"Tesco owns all the land for that so permission would have meant game over. This story isn't over yet because the city council agreed to sell the land in Beith Street to Glasgow Harbour.

"That means Tesco cannot go ahead unless the owners of that piece of land agree to co-operate with them on the development.

"I wasn't in favour of either of the Tesco supermarket developments because even the stand alone store was going to be big but we will now just have to wait and see what happens."

Gordon Bickerton of campaign group Stop Tesco Owning Partick (STOP) admitted he was shocked and disappointed by the Reporter's decision. He said: "I cannot believe that a government department would fly in the face of so much public feeling against this. I am astonished.

"I would have thought if anything had got the go-ahead it would have been the smaller development given the level of protest there was about the big one.

"This decision is unbelievable and I am in total shock."

Tesco corporate affairs manager, Jennifer Duncan, said: "We are pleased that the reporter has recognised the benefits associated with our mixed-use proposal.

"We would like to thank everybody who took the time to support our application."

The planned Tesco Town will be built on disused land in Partick close to the former Partick Central Auction train station site at the junction of Benalder street and Beith street, above, and the Glasgow Harbour development

Ms Duncan said the original plans for the area had been reduced considerably following extensive consultation.

The number of student rooms was cut from 1300 to 653 and the number of flats from 300to 220.

Tesco says the size of the superstore was increased to 7435sq m to allow a wide range of non-food products to be sold in the store.

The supermarket chain says studies of shopping habits show local people are travelling to stores in Govan, Anniesland and Maryhill for their weekly shop.

A statement said: "The proposed development will help to retain shoppers in Partick, benefiting the area and boosting the local economy. The new Tesco store would also create around 400 new full and part-time jobs."

Nobody from Glasgow Harbour was available to comment on the planning decision.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Allan Murray Unveils Latest Masterpiece

Evening News Article £20m Office Cube

Exhibition on Glenrothes where wee Allan "Caltongate or Edinburgh must Die" Murray grew up
Why is this one man reshaping the capital, answers please to

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Read all about it

The Planning Committee Convenor looking a bit confused after reading the news that perhaps Caltongate will cost Edinburgh her World Heritage Status

Monday, 7 July 2008

Edinburgh Under Investigation

Unesco to investigate if Edinburgh should lose world heritage status

Read Caltongate Calamity piece by Conservation architect James Simpson which gives the overall damage that Edinburgh faces if Caltongate was to go ahead.

Published Date: 07 July 2008 By BRIAN FERGUSON The Scotsman

AN INVESTIGATION has been ordered into Edinburgh's World Heritage Status, The Scotsman has learned.

An official inquiry, which may lead to the capital being stripped of the title by Unesco, was launched yesterday at a summit of the world heritage committee in the Canadian city of Quebec.

Delegates said they were particularly concerned about the potential impact and handling by the Scottish Government of Caltongate, a massive new development in Edinburgh's Old Town, which was approved despite around 1,800 objections being received.

The Scottish Government, which approved the scheme last month after dismissing demands for a public inquiry, has been condemned for failing to consult Unesco before coming to a final decision on the scheme, which will see two listed buildings demolished to make way for a five-star hotel.

The inquiry will also examine the proposed redevelopment of Leith's docklands over the next 20 years and the planned revamp of the St James Centre.

A team of Unesco inspectors will visit Edinburgh later this year to assess its "state of conservation".

The Scottish Government has been ordered to submit its own dossier by February of next year. The 2009 Unesco summit in Seville will then decide if there is enough evidence for Edinburgh to be placed on the "at risk" register.

A spokesman for Unesco's world heritage committee said: "The committee voiced concern at the potential impact of the Caltongate development and were also deeply concerned that it was approved by the state government in June without complying with the operational guidelines for world heritage sites.

"The Scotsman understands that Unesco officials are adamant Caltongate fell under the category of "major restorations or new constructions which may affect the outstanding universal value of the property".

According to its guidelines, Unesco should be consulted before any such development is ruled on.

The opening of the inquiry into Edinburgh's world heritage status, which Unesco awarded to the Old and New Towns in 1995, will be a major concern for the city council and the Scottish Government.

Councillors have come under mounting pressure from their own officials and business leaders in the capital not to turn down major developments amid claims Edinburgh is losing out on investment to Manchester and Glasgow. However, heritage and conservation groups have repeatedly warned that Edinburgh's heritage status is being put at risk by over-development of sensitive sites.

About 2,000 jobs have been promised by Mountgrange, the developer of the £300 million Caltongate scheme, which involves the creation of a hotel and conference centre, 200 homes, a public square, office blocks and a new arts quarter.

Councillors approved the vast majority of the Caltongate scheme at the first time of asking. The same happened last month when a 17-storey hotel at Haymarket was approved despite claims it would ruin views from as far afield as the Dean Gallery and Inverleith Park.

Liverpool is already being investigated by Unesco amid concern over the scale of development at its waterfront, while a separate inquiry is under way into the impact of new skyscrapers near the Tower of London.

Historic Scotland endorsed the Caltongate development, but has been fiercely critical of the proposals for Leith Docks and the St James Centre.

Historic Scotland declined to comment yesterday, but culture minister Linda Fabiani, who is responsible for the agency, said: "I'm confident that when the Unesco mission visits our capital, it will see a vibrant, growing city which embraces its cultural and architectural heritage as well as managing an improvement in development that benefits Edinburgh as a whole.

"Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh's deputy council leader, said: "I don't think we'd be too perturbed over this. It's fairly commonplace for Unesco to re-evaluate World Heritage Sites and that kind of scrutiny goes along with the title. I don't think Edinburgh has done anything to devalue its status."The St Kilda archipelago, New Lanark and Orkney's "Neolithic Heart" are among Scotland's other world heritage sites.

Manish Chande of London Developers Mountgrange who are behind Caltongate. Will this image of him pulling a "Braveheart" bull come back to chase him out of the city as fast as he dragged it in.

See what will be lost here

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Credit Crunch Casulties Continue

Will this happen to Crooked Caltongate? Time will tell......The following will ring a few bells....

Credit crunch threatens Gehry's Hove scheme

2 July, 2008 Building Design By Marguerite Lazell
Frank Gehry's controversial scheme for the Hove sea front has been thrown into doubt because of the credit crunch.

Karis, the developer of the £290 million scheme to build 750 apartments and a leisure centre, admitted on Tuesday that the economic downturn could scupper the project.

Managing director Josh Aghiros told BD: "At the moment, due to the economic climate as it is, we’re doing a viability study. There’s no conclusion. All options are open.

"With the way house prices are any major development in the country is in this position."

The scheme was granted planning permission on the casting vote of the chairman of the Brighton & Hove Council planning committee in March 2007 after local opposition to the scale of the development.
On Tuesday, Gehry confirmed his involvement with the project was over. In an interview in the Guardian with BD columnist Jonathan Glancey, he said: "Don’t go there. It was a painful experience. I guess I never did understand your planning system and all those interfering government design advisers."
Aghiros commented that the King Alfred project was not the sort of scheme Gehry was used to working on. "The major projects that Frank Gehry has done have been funded by philanthropists, or institutions," he said. “This is a commercial proposition that needs to stand on its own feet. If it’s viable we’ll proceed.”
Aghiros said a final decision about the future of the project would be made by the end of July.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Canongate Loses Out once again!

Right statue, but it's been put in the wrong place

HOW predictable that the city council should site the new statue of Adam Smith, no doubt using some of the people's taxes, across the road from the City Chambers, where they can be the first to bask in his new reflected glory.

I am sure that this is a mere coincidence and there are a thousand other good reasons to give it to the council to enhance their strip of the Royal Mile.

It should have been placed instead low on the Canongate, where he already lies among his people, and where one of his old houses will soon be rededicated to him ... but I suppose that the citizens of the Canongate have been restive about Caltongate of late, so they must be put in their places.

Cancel their street party at short notice for a start – an Orange march is much more important – and then steal their famous son. To his canons of taxation perhaps Adam Smith should have added: "If there is anything good, valuable or enjoyable on the go, a council will grab its share first.

"If we were going to put up anything sensible in front of the City Chambers it should have been the guillotine from the Chambers Street Museum, to remind the unco guid what can happen when the citizen gets fed up with inefficient rulers. We must find a way to empty out the whole of the current City Chambers, and start again.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Letters Eve News 2nd July 2008