Sunday, 31 August 2008

Edinburgh is being Vandalised

Nothing Less Than Vandalism

Above is one possible emblem for Edinburgh, replacing the UNESCO
World Heritage Emblem which the city looks set to lose....

Joanna Blythman on built heritage in today`s The Sunday Herald

Thanks to the unique blend of medieval and neo-classical architecture in its old and new towns, Edinburgh holds a coveted international listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site, an accolade only awarded to places of exceptional architectural and historical merit.

Read here why

This is a huge honour, so you might think that all the councillors and officials who passed through the portals of the city chambers would be circumspect enough to realise that even if the finer points of architecture were beyond them, you don't imperil such a listing. No such luck. Koichiro Matsuura, the director-general of this UN cultural body, has had to warn Edinburgh that if it proceeds with certain new developments (of which more below), its world heritage status may be threatened. He has requested that the city puts these plans on hold, pending Unesco's investigation, or risk having its Unesco status stripped from it.

Man from UNESCO, he say no

The alarm has been sounded, but smug Edinburgh Council shows no signs of taking heed. In the past it would have. For decades, conservatism and preservation of the status quo were the order of the day. Thanks to the vigilance of groups such as the Cockburn Association, most of the lunatic plans advanced for the city were thwarted, with the prominent exception of the St James Centre. Not bad going when you think that Glasgow got saddled with a motorway that savaged its Victorian grid.

Unfortunately in recent years Edinburgh has been plagued by councillors who, though their politics differ, have one thing in common - their egos are bigger than their brains and their judgement is wanting. Puffed up and romanced by developers and modernist architects who feed them the pretentious, self-aggrandising vocabulary of "iconic buildings", "signature architecture", "architectural statements" and "iconoclastic, brave development" - like teenage vandals carving their initials on the ancient stones of the Acropolis - they yearn to leave their hubristic mark on the city for posterity. Hence the spate of fatally misconceived plans that are being given the go-ahead, even though they perpetuate old mistakes and grind their killer heels in the face of Edinburgh's handsome heritage.

How on Earth was the capital's number one vandal, Edinburgh University, allowed to squeeze yet another architecturally meritless, oversized concrete block into Bristo Square? With its track record of flattening three sides of Georgian George Square and erecting the monstrous David Hume Tower, it should have been placed on a Gary Glitter-style register of recidivist architectural offenders never to be trusted.

Just next to abused George Square, the city's Quartermile development is partially completed. A riot of U-PVC and tinted glass that spurns more vernacular, sustainable materials like wood and stone, its overpriced, aspirational yuppie condominiums add only to our housing stock of exclusive, soulless, ever-so-slightly sinister compounds for the very rich.

Then there's the scandal of Caltongate, where two listed buildings on the historic Royal Mile are to be demolished to make way for a five-star hotel and conference centre - as if Edinburgh needs another. But the most monstrously inappropriate scheme yet given approval is the 17-storey (yes, that's right, 17-storey!) hotel and office development at Haymarket. This has been sold by its promoters as "a gateway of blade-like sharpness in the form of a tower" that will "act as a beacon at night" and function as "a gateway building marking the entry into the World Heritage Site from the west". What preposterous and fanciful nonsense.

I happen to agree, on the whole, with Leon Krier, guru of the New Urbanism school of architecture, who said that "the most beautiful and pleasant cities which survive in the world today have all been conceived with buildings of between two and five floors". Even those who go for all that "street in the sky" rhetoric spouted by ideologues of modernism ought to admit that Edinburgh is not Manhattan. However bored architects may be with working in the confines of a conservation-minded city, a philistine should see that 17 storeys are brazenly out of scale among Edinburgh's traditionally low-rise buildings.

It's hard to see Haymarket's proposed tower (above) as anything other than a grotesquely super-sized, overbearing monument to architectural arrogance and civic stupidity. Worse, I interpret it as a declaration that it is now open season on Edinburgh's outstanding urban heritage, one that ratifies the Caltongate precedent.

Former Lord Provost Lesley Hinds betrayed a rare flash of self-doubt after the Haymarket decision when she remarked that "we will be damned or we might be congratulated in the future".

I'll place my bet now. The Haymarket tower will be viewed as Edinburgh's biggest post-St James Centre planning gaffe and those who voted for it as dangerous idiots.

St James Centre

It's not just the odd bad building here and there. The plans for Edinburgh become ever more scarring and radical. Part of me wants to see the miscreants punished by losing Unesco status, but then Edinburgh suffers along with them.

Sean Connery who visited the capital last week, perhaps warning the first minister of the danger the city faces

Time for the grown-ups to step in. Alex Salmond must hold an inquiry into both the Caltongate and Haymarket follies before the council fouls up the city's heritage for posterity.

More on the vandalism of Edinburgh

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Caltongate Developers Thank Council

The guy outside the City Chambers is saying

"They want to thank the people who made it all possible"

The banner to the left says "Stuff UNESCO" and the banner to the right says

"Cockburn Association - Bring it On"

This excellent cartoon by Frank Boyle in today`s Eve News 28 Aug 08 sums up the mood in Edinburgh yesterday so well

Unlike the city council leader who doesn`t have a clue what the people of Edinburgh think...

"Councillor Andrew Burns, the city's labour leader, thinks most people in the city would find the research results odd.

He said: "This is very surprising. It is certainly not a description of Edinburgh I recognise."

SNP local councillor knows what`s what, though-

"local councillor David Beckett urged colleagues to take the opportunity to "correct their mistake" and refuse the application.

He said: "The Caltongate plans should have been refused by this council at the first opportunity. "The biggest concern is the effect this will have on the city's World Heritage Status, yet I was told at the last meeting on this subject that it was 'scaremongering' to suggest that this development could cost us that," he said.

He was backed up by Green councillor Steve Burgess, who said the development should at least be delayed until after the Unesco report – which is not expected to be until late next year.

Full article Eve News Article Today and the paper`s editor doesn`t seem to have his ear to the street either -Editorial Today

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Demand continues to Call-IN Caltongate

Latest News is that yes, the plans have been rubber stamped this afternoon!
Hear the city`s design champion Sir Terry Farrel speak of the problems facing Edinburgh on the BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland programme from earlier today Listen at 2 hrs 22 mins
STV will be covering it on thier local news programme Scotland Today at 6pm

Groundhog Day at City Chambers

This afternoon the Caltongate Applications go to committee once again, six months late due to yet another council error!! It has been recommended again they be rubber stamped then referred to ministers once more. With the increased awareness of the potential damage to the capital from Caltongate and other proposed developments, the ministers will surely see reason and Call the Plans in. Otherwise its bye bye Athens of the North. See yesterdays post on repeated call-in request by Msps.

This excellent letter from Jim Johnson an architect for close on 50 years, and former Director of the Edinburgh Old Town Renewal Trust sums up why the plans should be called- in-

Alex Salmond MSP
First Minister
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh 20 August 2008

Dear Minister,

Caltongate Planning Applications: 07/01287/FUL, 07/04400/FUL, 07/01237/FUL, 07/01288/FUL, and 07/01241/FUL.

I received a letter from the City of Edinburgh dated 6 August giving the opportunity to objectors to make further representations about this application. A number of mistakes have been made by the planning department during the consultation and processing of these applications. Circumstances have changed since the Council made its decision. The importance of the site, the complexity of the issues and the conflict of interests between the Council as a partner in the development and as the planning authority, clearly shows the need for an independent, impartial review of the whole masterplan process and the subsequent determination of the planning applications.

I request that the applications be called-in by the Scottish Ministers for the following reasons:

1. The international concern over the potential damage to the Edinburgh World Heritage site has been demonstrated (subsequent to the determination of the applications by the City Council) by the decision of UNESCO to send a delegation to examine the position in Edinburgh. UNESCO has expressed concern that the Council may have acted wrongly in approving the development without referring to UNESCO before taking a decision. The threat to the City’s World Heritage status was highlighted by many who opposed the masterplan and the detailed planning applications, but their view was steadfastly rejected and rubbished by the Council. The objectors have been proved right.

2. The Council’s justification for the departure from the statutory Structure Plan and national planning policies is that the development will achieve economic and employment benefits. But the benefits listed are purely speculative and remain untested by any impartial expert assessment. Most of the benefits are based on highly contentious information provided by the developer and consultants employed by him. There is no evidence that they have been tested or analysed in any detail by the planning authority. Given the downturn in the economy since the original applications were lodged, the claimed benefits have become even more questionable and need to be re-examined.

3. The developer has demonstrated no commitment to a genuine consultation process. He has repeatedly stated that the scheme (particularly the hotel, its most contentious and damaging element) is an “all or nothing” development, and refused to consider a phased approach to this very large site. In addition, the setting up of a “consultation group” (invited and administered by the developer) only sought to manipulate the consultation process to the developer’s advantage and avoid the implementation of the National Standards for Community Engagement. The City Council has acquiesced to this sham.

4. The government’s commitment to a more sustainable future for Scotland (eg. by cutting carbon emissions) and the City’s aspirations to become an exemplar for sustainable city life, are both undermined by the Caltongate proposals. As presented the scheme is very far from an example of sustainable “best practice” despite the claims in the developer’s Sustainability Appraisal, which is no more than a “green wash” over the design (I submitted a detailed critique of this appraisal to the Council dated 7 May 2006). I can only conclude that the planning department lack the resources (or time) to analyse the veracity of the submitted proposals.

5. The Council claims the Caltongate development is “is of outstanding design quality” I would dispute this. I have been in practice as an architect for close on 50 years, latterly as Director of the Edinburgh Old Town Renewal Trust. I am not a “preservationist” - I believe that new developments in historic cities should be in a contemporary style, reflecting modern requirements and materials. But this proposal falls well short of the standard that should be aimed for in Edinburgh. I have rarely seen a more banal overall design, and am at a loss how the City can consider that “the quality of the urban design solution will enhance the Conservation area, the Edinburgh World Heritage site and the setting of listed buildings” – particularly as the developer intends to demolish the listed buildings!

Yours faithfully,

Jim Johnson
Dip. Arch. ARIAS

This excellent letter is in today`s Scotsman 27 Aug 08

Stand firm against those who would sacrifice capital's heritage status

I am disappointed by reactions to Unesco's comments about proposed developments within the designated world heritage site in Edinburgh (Focus, 26 August). I would have expected some fervour, yet have heard none.

We are talking about a world heritage site – not a Lothian heritage site nor even a British one – of such importance within the built and natural heritage of this planet that it has been picked out for an accolade and recognition as being among the finest things in the world. Yet to hear current debate it would appear little more than a nuisance.

I can imagine the clamour were other world heritage sites to come under such ill-considered attack. The Macchu Pichu Hilton? Go-karting amongst the chicanes of Stonehenge? BMX parks over the pyramids?

Yet here we are happy to see a prime site let to commercial developers in a way that would be hardly acceptable in a minor provincial town. This, too, with defence from the city fathers and the Chamber of Commerce. Members of the chamber, I would suggest, do not all work in offices, but are interested to see the premium visitors and companies attracted here because Edinburgh is still well worth visiting and living in. What Chamber has to say 25 Aug 08

Edinburgh is a lived-in and living city, and must never be frozen in time. It must, however, recognise that it is, like Prague and Florence, greater than the sum of its parts. To begin to erode and then to replace with dull, pedestrian – but no doubt commercially viable – buildings is not only cruel, it is shortsighted and shows a total misunderstanding of this place.

We should be proud of this city; it is unique. While current attitudes to Unesco's observations prevail, we can hardly complain about the tatty tourist shops, unweeded pavements and traffic chaos. These could be settled at a stroke. Beginning the destruction of a world heritage site in the name of commerce is no less than authorised vandalism and I am astonished that we are not out in our thousands marching to save our beautiful city from yet more misguided and substandard "developments".

There always is a stronger commercial argument, but many cities have recognised that this can be short-term gain for a very long-term loss, and have master-planned to save the blight.

Edinburgh more than justifies its Unesco recognition, and to many of us this matters. We are tenants of this city, not owner-occupiers; let's try not to mess it up too much for future generations.

DAVID GERRARD Spylaw Park Edinburgh

The pro-active role of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in promoting the development Caltongate Developer Manish Chande is head of the Chamber`s property portfolio group and in the past in The Evening News Ron Hewitt of Chambers Roots For Caltongate

But as we all can see from this Article Ron Hewitt likes writing fiction --

"It sounds bizarre, but Ron Hewitt, who took over the reins at the chamber earlier this year, writes novels about a murderer of paedophiles in his spare time."

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ministers to CAll - IN Caltongate?

Can these buildings be spared the wrecking ball?

"Lothians Green MSP Robin Harper, Scottish Nationalist Shirley-Anne Somerville and independent Margo MacDonald are all urging ministers to order an inquiry rather than rubber stamp the £300 million scheme when it comes before them."

Sounds familiar? Well, because it is -Remember This?

"The call for a public inquiry comes as councillors prepare to consider the plans once again tomorrow. A blunder by officials meant objectors were not given their statutory 14 days to comment on the council's decision earlier this year to approve the scheme."
Full article here - Eve News 26th Aug 08

Why a Public Inquiry is Needed

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Chris Hoy appeals to save Meadowbank

The Independent Republic wishes to share its congratulations to Chris Hoy and points out the need for local sports facilities.

Chris Hoy in video appeal for Meadowbank to be saved

Triple Olympic medallist Chris Hoy has given his backing to the campaign to save Meadowbank from closure.

The most successful Scottish Olympian of all time learned his craft in his home town of Edinburgh and readily admits he wouldn’t have achieved his record haul had it not been for the Meadowbank velodrome. Yet Edinburgh Council plan to ignore thousands of objections and demolish the velodrome - plus the neighbouring international athletics stadium and sports centre - and replace it with a cut-down complex that doesn’t cater for most of its current sports, including cycling.

In the video clip, produced by Edinburgh Racers, Chris Hoy said: ”Elite sport cannot stand alone without local facilities giving kids the chance to get into the sport in the first place. I really hope Edinburgh is going to continue to produce world champion cyclists in the future but we cannot do this without a local facility.”

Mark Barry, director of youth racing in Manchester, added: ”This is a track that has been absolutely fundamental in the success of the Great Britain cycling team. Most of our world, Olympic and European champions have come from here.”

The video highlights the lack of proper investment since the Meadowbank track was built forty years ago and the absence of a roof, which causes several events to be rained off every year.

Allister Watson, director of Scottish Cycling, made a telling comparison between Scotland’s top two medal-winning sports: ”Cycling is Scotland’s second most successful Commonwealth Games sport. The most successful sport is swimming. I wonder how our swimmers would get on if there was only one swimming pool for the country and it was outside.”

Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor welcomed the video. He said: ”Chris Hoy is a great role model and proof of what Meadowbank has helped achieve. Imperfect facilities are better than no facilities at all. Edinburgh Council claim they are being forced to radically downscale Meadowbank purely on financial grounds. If that is the case we call upon the Scottish Government to provide them with adequate funding.”

Friday, 22 August 2008

Bond Says No To Caltongate


" Warns that the Capital "could soon" lose its prestigious world heritage status "

Highlighting the ongoing investigation by Unesco into the city's World Heritage Site status, following major development plans such as Caltongate, he warns that Edinburgh "could soon lose" the prestigious title.

Caltongate Developer Manish Chande and business partner Martin Myers

The city's planners should take a leaf out of Copenhagen's book, he suggests, to learn how to preserve a historic landscape.

Although he praises the "imaginative" work of Edinburgh architects Allan Murray, Malcolm Fraser, Richard Murphy, Charlie Sutherland and Charlie Hussey, he deplores the general standard of new buildings springing up across the city.

But has he been briefed by Miss Moneypenny correctly as he does not seem to know the true identity of the villians in the capital......

"Each time I return to the city I am shocked at the mediocre quality of the new architecture," he says.

Full Article Here Evening News 21st Aug 2008

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Caltongate Halted!

Hold your horses or your heritage status is at risk,

says the man from Unesco

MAJOR developments in the capital should be halted until an investigation into Edinburgh's World Heritage status is completed, the head of Unesco warned yesterday.

If you haven`t written to the Scottish Ministers yet, then do mention this in your letter and demand the demolitions notices be revoked, and a public inquiry be held. See yesterdays posting on what to do.

Koichiro Matsuura, the director-general of the UN cultural body, believes no more decisions should be taken on key projects like Caltongate and Haymarket until the results of a year-long probe are published.
A team of inspectors will visit the capital in November after Unesco's world heritage committee ordered an investigation into Edinburgh's World Heritage Site.

A report, due to be published in the spring, will recommend whether Edinburgh is placed on Unesco's official "at risk" list of endangered sites.Mr Matsuura told The Scotsman there was mounting concern with Unesco about the impact of major developments in the city and the impact they would have on its skyline.

He said: "Edinburgh's World Heritage Site is very important and it is crucial that its outstanding features are preserved and protected.
"The main trigger for the probe was the city council's decision to approve the £300 million Caltongate scheme, earmarked for land on and around the site of a former bus depot, in the Old Town. Two listed buildings face demolition to make way for a five-star hotel and conference centre, which will have an entrance on the Royal Mile.
Final approval has yet to be given by the council and the Scottish Government.

Just weeks before Unesco's world heritage committee was due to meet, council planners approved the £200 million Haymarket scheme, which involves the creation of a 17-storey five-star hotel development.
Unesco also made clear that its investigation would cover the proposed redevelopment of the St James Centre, which the council is due to rule on for the first time later this year. Widespread fears have been aired about the impact a new landmark building will have on the skyline.

Mr Matsuura's trip to Edinburgh was announced just weeks after the probe into the capital's World Heritage Status was launched. Mr Matsuura said: "I am a bit concerned about the Caltongate development. I saw for myself the site of the development during my tour and was told not to worry too much about the impact it will have, but the big concern will be how it affects the historic skyline.
"The debates about new developments are not just happening in Edinburgh, but we are opposed to anything which would impact on the city's skyline. Modern high-rises should not be built in historic city centres or in areas where they would have a significant impact. Nothing else should be decided on these schemes until our inspectors have visited and reported back.
"A spokesman for Mountgrange, Caltongate's developer, said: "We're not supportive of unnecessary delays in the planning decisions that hold up major investment decisions being made that are important to the economic health of Edinburgh and Scotland.

Haymarket Hotel

"John Nesbitt, managing director of Haymarket developer Tiger, said: "Our proposals have been referred to the Scottish Government following approval from the council in June. Historic Scotland, the agency charged with safeguarding the nation's historic environment, had no objections."

A council spokeswoman said they wanted to keep details of the discussions confidential.

John Graham, Historic Scotland's chief executive, said: "We don't feel we have a part to play in this process any more." Full article by Brian Ferguson here Scotsman 20th Aug 08

The Press Association

Historic Scotland & Caltongate

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Demand for Public Inquiry for Caltongate

You may or may not have received a letter dated 6th August from Alan Henderson, Head of Planning, City of Edinburgh Council. See Evening News 7th Aug 08

Even if you did not object first time around, or receive this particular letter do take this opportunity to make your voice count. The more emails that the council and government receive, the more they can`t ignore the obvious mass public objection to Caltongate. And remember you can write even if you don`t live in Edinburgh, you can be any age, nationality and live anywhere to comment on a planning application and remember World Heritage Sites are everyone`s to enjoy and protect.

The Canongate Community Forum (CCF) suggest that you email the following people letting them know your views on the scheme, our letter is below which we have sent to the council and government.

You can take guidance from this, although do not just copy and paste, put what you feel is important , you are welcome to say that you support the points raised by the Canongate Community Forum in their letter to ministers and council officials, in response to Alan Hendersons letter of 6th August 2008.

People to Email

All Cabinet Ministers includes Alex Salmond, use the following email address and mark top of email for attention of all Scottish Ministers. Remember to include your name and postal address in the body of this email otherwise it may get ignored or lost.

and copy c.c. this email to the Director of Planning in Scottish Government, CEC head of planning, CEC Caltongate case officer, the leader of council and the Forum , emails below -

then send the same email to

The following MSPs who have already expressed the need for a public inquiry.

You should also write to your own Msps, MP and MEPS use this link Write to them Scottish ones are listed even although it doesn't say on home page, you just enter your postcode and they will appear)

Letter to Scottish Ministers

The Canongate Community Forum
19th August 2008

Dear Minister

Caltongate Call- In

The Canongate Community Forum received a letter dated 6th August 2008 from Alan Henderson, Head of Planning and Strategy of CEC.

This letter should have been sent immediately following the Planning Committee’s decision on the 6th February 2008, not six months later.

As objectors to the Caltongate planning applications, we have been invited make comments on whether we consider our previous comments were properly dealt with, to provide comments on the statements of reasons for approving the applications and present any new evidence we believe should be considered.

The omission of the final consultation/feedback on statement of reasons is only one example of the mistakes made during the consultation and processing of these proposals (e.g. applications were never advertised as developments potentially contrary to the Development Plan) and demonstrates the lack of suitable resources and expertise of CEC to deal with such a large and complex proposal.

In light of this latest council error we demand that the proposed demolitions be halted. The notices are now void as they were applied before this part of the process was carried out. So the council should revoke these demolition notices as soon as possible. Given the current economic climate the demolitions could go ahead, whilst work on this particular scheme not undertaken. Only when the economy picks up the developer may sell on this cleared site with full planning consent?

The Statements of Reasons provided by the council do not provide adequate planning justification to breach National Planning policy and best practice (for listed buildings and conservation areas in particular).

The Canongate Community Forum would therefore like to take this opportunity to request the CALL-IN of the Caltongate Planning Applications.

Why a “Call – In” of Caltongate Plans by Scottish Ministers is required

The complexity of the issues and the ongoing conflict of interests between the Council as a developer and as the Planning Authority clearly demonstrate the need for an impartial independent review of the whole Caltongate masterplan process and subsequent determination of the planning applications. This can only be done through a Public Inquiry or Hearing undertaken by Reporters.

Reasons why -

1. The Planning Authority, The City of Edinburgh Council has a significant financial interest in the proposed development and as such cannot maintain the level of impartiality required to make an unbiased decision.

2. There is international concern. The Caltongate plans are potentially so damaging to the World Heritage Site that UNESCO decided at their Quebec Meeting in July this year, to send a delegation to the capital. UNESCO has expressed concern that CEC may have acted wrongly in agreeing to the development without, referring it first of all to UNESCO before a decision was taken. The proposed demolitions and design of replacement buildings will have a significant negative impact on the World Heritage Site and has been highlighted by many experts from impartial heritage organisations as well as the general public.

3. The land to be sold on East Market Street was not subject to fair and open competition and was sold for less than market value. The land on Calton Road was not identified as surplus to requirements by the council or offered on the open market for housing (which would have also required a contribution of 25% affordable housing in line with existing policy). Complaints have been made to both the Competition DG and the Internal market DG of the EU Commission, because of the extent that Mountgrange Caltongate Ltd may have been provided with privileged access and offered exclusive consideration in pursuance of its commercial objectives, it follows that competing bidders, both actual and potential, have been unlawfully discriminated against, and public resources unlawfully exposed to risk in this case. The office of the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU are to decide shortly whether to start an "infringement procedure" – which could lead all the way to the European courts.

4. Private gain seems to be taking precedent over the legitimate public interest.

5. The total demolition of the Grade C Listed Canongate Venture is against planning policy.

6. Edinburgh World Heritage Trust believes that this was a development which should not happen, and CEC is a signatory to the Management Plan for the World Heritage Site. Historic Scotland and CEC are both represented on the Board of Directors of Edinburgh World Heritage - conflict of interest?

7. Facade schemes are not in accordance with sound principles of conservation and remove much historic and architectural interest from a building, and so the claimed benefits could as easily be gained by a far more sympathetic development, retaining listed buildings and thus the authenticity of the World Heritage Site.

8. It is suggested in the statement of reasons that the justification for departing from the statutory Structure Plan and National planning policies and guidance is the achievement of certain benefits – but the economic and employment benefits listed are purely speculative and remain untested by any impartial expert assessment. Most of the benefits highlighted are based on highly inaccurate information provided by the developer and not through detailed analysis or research undertaken by the Planning Authority.

9. The Planning Authority cannot be seen to have behaved impartially - they have not given equal weight to material objections raised from numerous community and heritage organisations and objectors but have chosen to favour the heavily biased opinion, and purely speculative benefits, provided by the developer and a local business organisation shortly after the developer Manish Chande was appointed Chair of their Property Policy Group (Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce).

10. No consideration was given to any alternative plans, either during the Council's consideration of the developer's masterplan or at the detailed planning application stage, despite requests from local stakeholders to allow consultation on alternative proposals.

11. No consideration was given to emerging local or national policy regarding growing community assets, the shortage of affordable workshops space and start up business premises in the city, heritage led development policies, community led development planning and policy, or to alternative funding streams available for public realm improvements and traffic management.

12. Many of the benefits attributed to the proposed development could be achieved through retention and development of public assets, and would be required of any development in the area which adheres to existing and emerging statutory plans and policies.

13. The provision of affordable housing does not address the needs of the area (particular lack of larger, 3 and 4 bed family housing) and what has been proposed has been offset to publicly owned land on Calton road rather than being met on site by the developer.

14. There are no safeguards in place (or conditions imposed to ensure the controlled phasing of development) to ensure the masterplan area is developed in such a way to ensure the suggested benefits will be fully realised (or even delivered) should a recession slow down development.

15. The developer has demonstrated no real commitment to the consultation process by repeatedly stating that the scheme is an all or nothing development and a phased approach to this enormous site is not an option. In addition, the setting up a 'consultation group' (administered by the developer and had membership limited to those stakeholders invited by the developer) only sought to manipulate the consultation process to the developer's advantage and avoid the implementation of the National Standards for Community Engagement.

16. The size location and facilities required (including direct access to a public square and the close proximity to exclusive luxury residential properties) by the hotel have been clearly stated as being key to securing a specific client for a hotel, however all applications require assessment against approved and adopted policy. No planning justification has been provided to warrant setting aside National Policy and Guidance with regard to the demolition of structurally sound listed and unlisted buildings in an Outstanding Conservation Area.

17. Senior members of CEC's Planning Committee and Planning Department have mishandled various elements in the processing of both the masterplan and the applications, ignored expert advice and opinion, behaved inappropriately and at times with prejudice towards members of the community and local community organisations.

18. The development does not accord with the Development Plan and was never advertised as a potential departure.

19. The decision is potentially prejudicial to the emerging Local Plan - it was identified in the finalised draft of the City Local Plan, due to be considered later this summer, following a request for Caltongate to be included in the emerging local plan by the developer. Its inclusion has sparked a significant number of objections to the inclusion of this oversized planning application as a Local Plan policy/proposal and objectors have also raised concerns that the finalised local plan has insufficient protection for listed buildings and the World Heritage Site.

20. The size and complexity of the technical information requires detailed analysis which is not available within the existing resources of CEC City Development Department. An Inquiry would allow evidence to also be presented from impartial and independent expert witnesses.

21. The plans conflict with National Policies NPPG18, NPPG5, SPP2, SPP1 and SPP3 and also memorandum of Guidance for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

22. The processing of the supplementary guidance (masterplan) and the planning applications is not in accordance with advice contained in PAN41, PAN81, PAN 82, PAN 71, or PAN 74

I look forward to your acknowledgement of our letter and your subsequent call-in of these detrimental proposals for our capital.

Yours sincerely
Sally Richardson
Canongate Community Forum

Monday, 18 August 2008

Caltongate Plans Crushed?

City builders hit a brick wall as crunch bites

THE building of thousands of new homes in the Capital is in doubt as the credit crunch brings the city's construction industry to a virtual standstill.

Major developments are being mothballed across the city, with a string of building sites lying empty along the Waterfront and the city centre in particular.

Full story here Evening News 18th Aug 08

Friday, 15 August 2008

Caltongate Architect Hits Back

Architect hits back at accusation of producing mediocre work

PROLIFIC architect Allan Murray has hit back at claims he puts "mediocrity before imagination or beauty" to win favour with Edinburgh planners.

Former Scottish Arts Council chairman and columnist Magnus Linklater accused Mr Murray, the mastermind behind projects such as Caltongate, Edinburgh Park and the St James Quarter, of producing "bland and undistinguished" architecture which is out of step with the "elegance of older-style Edinburgh".

Mr Murray denied his designs were mediocre, saying they are subjected to "intense scrutiny by the prospective clients, judging panels or our peers". He added: "These same projects are also closely scrutinised by the City of Edinburgh planning officials and councillors, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government's design advisor group Architecture & Design Scotland and in many cases through detailed public consultation.

"A number of our high-profile projects also have the benefit of being collaborative efforts.

Eve News 14 Aug 08

see earlier postings on Murray

Thursday, 14 August 2008

EU Probe into Caltongate

THE EU today became the latest organisation to launch an investigation into the handling of the controversial £300 million Caltongate plans.

Architectural historian David Black, who sparked a similar European investigation over the Holyrood parliament building, has succeeded in persuading officials in Brussels to consider his complaint against the city council.The move comes just weeks after the UN heritage watchdog Unesco launched an investigation into Edinburgh's World Heritage status, amid concerns over the impact of the Caltongate development.

Mr Black a founder of The Old Town Association - raised a number of issues in his complaint, and claimed competition laws were broken in the sale of a patch of land for the massive project.

He also claimed that planning convenor Jim Lowrie breached rules by prematurely commenting on the scheme in the Evening News - although the Standards Commission for Scotland later cleared him of this.

After five months, the office of the Secretariat-General of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, has ruled Mr Black's complaints admissible. Although no comment has been made on the validity of the allegations, officials will now decide whether to start an "infringement procedure" – which could lead all the way to the European courts.

Mr Black said this means the Caltongate development could still be scrapped, although sources close to the project believe this to be highly unlikely.

"I think the council is very vulnerable ... these decisions cannot stand, and this could be an incredible outcome as a point of law of this.

Five years ago, Mr Black lodged a complaint with the European Commission over the £414m Scottish Parliament project, alleging mismanagement, secrecy and bias. The Commission decided that rules had been broken, although no further action was taken because the Scottish Executive had taken steps to prevent a repeat.

One of his key allegations regarding Caltongate centres around a patch of council-owned land, which Mr Black believes the council supplied to developer Mountgrange for around £5m without offering it on the open market.

A council spokesman said: "The council's financial involvement relates to commercial agreements on property which have been reported openly to the council.

"It is routine for public and privately-owned land to be taken together for the sake of developments that benefit the city.

"We are obliged to raise market value on property we sell and we are comfortable that we have done that.

"An official from the Secretariat-General said the Commission will "consider (the] complaint in the light of the applicable Community law", but warned that this did not mean an infringement procedure would necessarily be opened.
Evening News 13th Aug 08
questions that demand answers on Caltongate

And there is news on Caltongate Architect Malcolm Fraser -
Award–winning doesn’t mean job winning
Regular readers will know I have a thing about the ephemerality of awards, believing firmly that architects are only as good as their next job, not their last one. Today’s announcement in the Scotsman that Malcolm Fraser’s practice is to shed a quarter of its workforce (a far more dramatic headline than simply saying that a total of eight jobs have been lost) is peppered with phrases like ‘award winning’ and ‘high profile’ and shows clearly that when the going gets tough, a wider but generally unspoken suspicion of the merits of architectural awards and the buildings selected to receive them is quickly turned into a pejorative headline.

Quite why Malcolm finds himself singled out for a half page of negative publicity is open to question – newspapers in Scotland don’t exactly carry regular features on matters architectural and while there are plenty of practices struggling at the moment, its hardly the sort of thing they issue press releases about – especially when the far bigger story is of massive, and potentially long-lasting, job losses throughout the construction industry in Scotland.

This is particularly so at a time when Fraser’s office has just completed what is arguably its best project in years – the exquisite new home for the Dovecot Studios within the envelope of the former Infirmary Street Baths in Edinburgh’s Old Town. No doubt the project will in due course receive accolades and baubles from fellow professionals, but that is no consolation to the eight people now seeking alternative employment.

Now, if only bona fide recent awards were to carry points that counted on pre-qualification questionnaires for new projects, we might see some quantifiable benefit to those practices most consistently trying to deliver built excellence. In the meantime, however, good luck to Fraser and his team in securing new commissions, and to the redundant staff in finding new employment. Article by Peter Wilson in Architecture Scotland

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Allan "Edinburgh is all mine" Murray

Enter Murray`s Edinburgh Here

Why leave a city's designs in one man's hands?

The Times today 13th August 2008 by Magnus Linklater

Edinburgh's celebrated skyline is threatened by a planning policy that puts mediocrity before imagination or beauty

As a cub reporter I once went to interview Colonel Richard Seifert, then famous, or notorious, as the architect of Centre Point - at the time the tallest building in London, soon to be overtaken by the NatWest Tower, which Seifert also built. How, I wondered, could one architect, whose work was synonymous with high-rise concrete monstrosities, have been commissioned to erect more London buildings than Christopher Wren ever contemplated?

“I understand the planning regulations,” said the colonel, fixing me with a disconcerting smile. “I deliver on time, I understand my clients, and I give them exactly what they want.” That was not the whole story. He had a very clear idea of what he himself wanted and, ideally, he would have liked to rebuild all London in his image. He told me of his vision of great battlements of tower blocks, surrounding, and dwarfing, the very few old sites that he thought worth conserving. Luckily, he was defeated in the end by the very bureaucracy he thought he had mastered. He still managed, nevertheless, to complete more than 500 office blocks in Britain and Europe.

For anyone who wonders whether any of today's architects could influence a city to the same extent, a trip to Edinburgh in this festival season would be instructive. In this place of architectural marvels, there is a new name to conjure with. The successor to Adam, Playfair, Hamilton, Bryce and Gilbert Scott - the creators of Edinburgh's celebrated skyline - is Allan Murray. His may not be a name to conjure with in the wider architectural world, but in terms of current projects and masterplans in this city, he dwarfs everything that his more famous predecessors constructed.
Glenrothes where wee Allan grew up
More Here

It is hard to take a walk from the narrow wynds of the 17th-century Old Town to the stern splendour of the 18th-century New Town without stumbling across a Murray site, either completed, in construction or in contemplation.

A Murray Prototype

Walk down the Royal Mile, past a new Allan Murray hotel, from where you may observe the site of an Allan Murray redevelopment in the heart of the Old Town, proceed down the Canongate, where a couple of fine old buildings are to be demolished to open up a new Allan Murray shopping precinct, then head towards Leith Walk, where the glass-fronted Allan Murray office complex successfully conceals the once scenic Calton Hill. Then observe the sprawling and hideous St James Centre to your left, which is, mercifully, to be razed, to make way for... another Allan Murray complex.

Omni Centre

Or instead just click on to Mr Murray's impressive website where all these and more are collected together under brave new titles such as Caltongate, Soco, St James Quarter and Edinburgh Park. That so many precious sites have been assigned to just one architect, without any noticeable public reaction, is a remarkable commentary on the way in which British cities are allowed to develop with no apparent control over how or even why they are doing so, along with a minimum of public accountability. In any other European city - Barcelona, say, or Rome - there would be high-profile competitions and rigorous scrutiny of any large architectural project. Here, the developer, and the architect of his choice, is king.

I like one or two of Mr Murray's smaller buildings, but his masterplans and big developments strike me as bland and undistinguished. One commmentator has described his office buildings as “wallpaper architecture”. His practice was set up barely 15 years ago, but his success is in stark contrast to that of other Scottish-based architects, some of whom have been nominated for the Stirling Prize and won awards in England and abroad, but have never been given contracts on anything like the scale achieved by Mr Murray.

The truth is that when it comes to developing our cities, design tends to take second place to the more prosaic imperatives of the market. The developer who can bring in a project under budget, on time and without offending planning restrictions has a head start on his rivals, however imaginative their approach may be. The architect who can be relied on to deliver those objectives will be favoured over his starrier competitors. The planning committee giving the go-ahead simply wants to know that the scheme is trouble-free. The outcome may be mediocre, but it is safe and reliable mediocrity rather than dangerous originality.

What is happening in Edinburgh may be more striking in a city renowned for its great architectural heritage than elsewhere - but the outcome is reflected in most of our major towns and cities. It is nearly ten years since the architect Lord Rogers of Riverside published his ground-breaking report on urban renaissance, in which he said that design must always take primacy over planning laws and expansion plans. He also said that the public should be more involved in developments that affect the look of the places they live in.
Neither of those aims have yet been realised, and Edinburgh's example suggests they are still a long way off.

More here on Murray - Caltongate or Edinburgh Must Die

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Another Caltongate Council Error!

The Canongate Community Forum the body behind Save Our Old Town Campaign have written to the head of planning Alan Henderson (pictured above) who is due to retire any day now. They received a reply from Henderson who talks about a letter dated the 21st July 2008 not the 6th of August as referred to in the Forum`s letter!!

Dear Mr Henderson

I am writing in response to your letter entitled Notification of intent to grant planning permission dated 6th August 2008.

The Canongate Community Forum is requesting an extension to this the latest round of consultation on the Caltongate Planning applications. This round is one which should have been carried out immediately following the Council Planning Committee’s decision on the 6th February this year.

This would have allowed the public to give comment on the statement of reasons for these applications being approved by the committee, on the recommendation of the planning department.

As this is clearly a council mistake it is only right that the time period for people to respond to the letters received in the last few days is extended. There are many reasons for this, people are confused, exhausted, on holiday etc

Reasons to extend consultation –

In this letter it is stated that only the minimum period of 14 days will be allowed to submit any further comment on the statements or on any views on the processing of the applications

I received mine and the one on behalf of The Canongate Community Forum on Friday 8th, (letter dated the 6th) and have been notified by others that they only received theirs today or haven’t as yet.

The council has a significant financial interest in all the applications.

At this time of the year you will be well aware that most people are on holiday, The Scottish Parliament is in recess, and most councillors are on holiday, schools, colleges, universities and so on are on holiday. And you may have noticed that the city is playing host to the biggest Arts Festival in the world. Many people are away from the city at this time, and do not always check their emails, or local press when away.

This oversight in the consultation process should not have happened and should have been picked up earlier in the following process, so it is unfortunate that there will be delays to the developer, but the consultation should not be restricted to 14 days (the minimum) in order just to benefit the developer.

It should be more than the ordinary minimum time as this situation is out of the ordinary.

We are dealing with Scotland’s capital city and part of her World Heritage Site, which is everyone’s to cherish worldwide A Unesco mission will visit Edinburgh towards the end of this year to evaluate its status as a World Heritage Site. An official inquiry was launched in July at UNESCO`s meeting in Quebec amid concerns about the potential impact of Caltongate, which won planning approval despite over 1,800 objections.
Article Here

As a result of this mistake by the council decision notices for the demolitions have been issued prematurely and must therefore now be void, so I request that you must assure The Canongate Community Forum and others that there is no way that these demolitions will take place before the whole process has been carried out in its proper order and without bias.

Many members of the community have not been opening their latest letter as they were flooded with the demolition notices in the last few weeks and thought this another, so its vital extra time is given to alert these people and press coverage given.

The local Community Council does not meet in August and will be unable deal with this consultation before September.

We therefore request you extend this consultation to run for 6 weeks from the date of the letter, thereby allowing reasonable time for all those concerned to find out its actually going on and to allow them time to write to the appropriate people with their concerns if any over the councils reasons to approve the Caltongate Applications back in February this year. You have to take in to account that over 6 months have passed since this decision was taken. So you must allow more than a few days for people to revisit this whole subject, which is complex as well as controversial.

I hope to receive an early response to this email.

Yours faithfully
Sally Richardson
Canongate Community Forum

Council`s Reply

Dear Ms Richardson


You have written requesting additional time to reply to our letter of 21 July 2008.

As that letter states, this is an opportunity to make further representations to the planning authority and to Scottish Ministers if you do not consider that your views have been properly dealt with. This forms a procedural review of your engagement with the process rather than an opportunity to raise new issues or repeat issues already presented.

This is a process that all planning applications where the Council has an interest and the application requires to be notified to Scottish Ministers will have to go through. All applications require to be dealt with in the same manner. As this is a review and not a new consultation, I do not accept that there is a justification for an exception in this case.

As such, I am not prepared to agree to your request to extend the period for comment. I look forward to receiving your comments by 21 August.

Please note that this process only applies to planning applications, it does not apply to applications for listed building consent or conservation area consent.

Yours sincerely

Alan Henderson
Head of Planning and Strategy

So looks like they don`t want to know, next stop Scottish check back tomorrow

A letter in yesterday`s Evening News
It's time to speak up over Caltongate
It would be great it the council's incompetence over the Caltongate planning application actually put the project at risk (City's major blunder, August 7), but for some reason the SNP and the Liberal Democrats seem determined to bulldoze people's homes and a Victorian school building for Trevor Davies's grotesque vanity project.Shirley Anne Somerville is always keen to express her reservations about it: perhaps she could speak to her colleagues in the Cabinet and get them to call the public local inquiry they should have agreed to months ago. Or is her opposition pure cynical positioning? James Mackenzie, Marchmont Street, Edinburgh

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Still no letters to tell us about the Great Council Caltongate Cock Up

Harry Potter's magic letters

Many of us were sort of expecting a magical letter to come through the post, there are hundreds of objectors out there waiting to be told what the Great Council Caltongate Cock Up means to them but despite the Evening News tantalising us on Thursday promising letters nothing has came. They can't blame the post as many of us live right next to the Planning Department at Waverley Court they could have popped them through many of our letter boxes or even put an announcement in the Evening News rather that an ominous article on Thursday Evening News.

How can the council cock this up? Is it incompetence? Could be! Is it because they are chaotic? Probably. The councillors and council officials have proven time and time again they are not the correct custodians for our city. It is a great insult after three years of campaigning, arguing, sweat and tears to be told via the Evening News "oops we've made a little mistake". They have lost their faculties rather than make a little mistake. Mountgrange will be sweating and swearing because in this economic climate any wobble is a bad wobble and every minute counts - they don't have the money in a piggy bank marked Caltongate they need to raise the money - Caltongate like so many developments will probably be shelved.

So if anyone sees one of these mythical letters as rare as a letter from Hogwarts please let the Republic know.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Smithfield Market Saved

Could this be an indication of the tide turning at last against the erosion of our heritage nationwide. Isn`t it ironic that Caltongate Developer Manish Chande is a director of English Heritage who have recently launched their Heritage At Risk which they are describing as a ground-breaking new programme. It seeks to identify the parts of the nation's historic environment that are endangered, and to get something done about them.
Yesterdays news of the latest Caltongate Cock-Up is further evidence that a Public Inquiry is desperately required. (see yesterdays blog post)

SAVE Britain’s Heritage is delighted that the Inspector and the Secretary of State have refused consent to demolish the General Market Buildings at Smithfield. The building which is one of a grand procession of market structures designed by the City Surveyor Sir Horace Jones has stood empty for more than a decade. SAVE Britain’s Heritage hopes that the developer Thornfield will now respect the decision and allow a conservation-based scheme to proceed in place of the office block proposed.

In recent years the whole area around Smithfield Market has been at the centre of a revival as vigorous and lively as that of Covent Garden.

At the public inquiry SAVE and English Heritage led the fight to save the market buildings. The campaign to save the General Market was launched by SAVE with the publication of Don’t butcher Smithfield in 2004.

Earlier, in the 1980s, SAVE led the successful campaign to prevent the demolition of Old Billingsgate Fish Market, also by Sir Horace Jones which is now a highly successful and popular events venue.

Adam Wilkinson above is now the Director of Edinburgh World Heritage Trust

Adam Wilkinson SAVE’s former Secretary who led the SAVE case at the inquiry says ‘This is vindication of SAVE’s long-held stance that the demolition of these handsome buildings is a nonsense and that they are well capable of economic re-use. They can contribute so much more to London than yet another office block.

The SAVE team exposed the some of the inaccuracies in the information used to justify the demolition proposals at the inquiry and we were staunch in our defence of these buildings. The City of London must now allow other development teams to come forward with proposals for the buildings, having previously stifled any attempts to find new uses for them’.

Marcus Binney President says ‘This is one of the biggest inquiries SAVE has ever fought, requiring an immense commitment in time and resources. The General Market Buildings have
been scandalously neglected by the City Corporation. At the inquiry the City conceded that the market made a significant contribution to the conservation area. The market buildings should now be offered for sale. If they are they can very quickly become as lively, attractive and popular as Borough Market south of the River’.

David Cooper SAVE’s solicitor and lead advocate at the Inquiry says ‘The case put forward by SAVE was compelling in its clarity that none of the works for the railway were urgent enough
to outweigh the obvious presumption of the positive contribution that these buildings made to
the area. It was difficult to understand why Thornfield pursued their case supported by the City Corporation.’ SAVE website

Thornfield Properties and the City of London’s plans to redevelop the famous Smithfield market are in disarray after Hazel Blears rejected the scheme.

The report from the Secretary of State’s office said the scheme would ‘significantly detract from the market complex as a whole’ and would ‘dominate the historic facades and be detrimental to the character of the building.’

See full article at Property Week

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Caltongate plans in ruins after council blunder

The City of Edinburgh Council Planning Department Group Photo 2008

THE controversial £300 million Caltongate scheme was in chaos today after a major council blunder.

Officials have been forced to write back to all 350 objectors, inviting them to submit further comments and present any new evidence they believe should be considered.

The revelation is likely to delay the start of work at the Old Town site by more than a month and could even threaten the viability of the project.

The requirement to give objectors another 14 days to comment is a new rule introduced last year, which was overlooked by council officials – although they today blamed Government advisers for the mix-up. It means the planning applications will once again come before local politicians later this month, then be handed back to ministers for yet another final decision.

Planning convener Jim Lowrie (pictured above) will have to decide whether to hear verbal objections and allow another vote later this month, although that is thought unlikely. However, although ministers gave the green light last June, they will once again have the chance to call the plans in, or even hold a public inquiry, if they believe there is sufficient new evidence.

In their responses, it is likely that many objectors will highlight recent news that Unesco has launched an investigation into Edinburgh's World Heritage status, which critics believe is threatened by the Caltongate plans.

For the developer, Mountgrange, it is thought the mistake could present financial problems, because the process of securing funds for the scheme is understood to have started.

In the current economic climate, delaying that could put the level of investment at risk.

A spokesman for the developers said: "Mountgrange are aware that the Scottish Government have asked for resolution of a procedural omission on the part of the council's planning department.

"The administrative error stems from the Town and Country Planning (notification of applications) (Scotland) Direction 2007. It requires councils with a financial interest in a development – as in this case – to contact all objectors after a local decision has been reached. Only after residents have been given a further chance to comment should ministers be asked to make a final decision.

It is thought the error came to light when civil servants analysed the council's recent decision to approve a £200m redevelopment of Haymarket.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Due to a procedural oversight by the City of Edinburgh Council, we have required the council to conuduct a round of consultation.

"But the council's director of city development, Dave Anderson, said: "Our staff held extensive discussions with their counterparts at the Scottish Government. A course of action was agreed setting out the council's responsibilities. However we have subsequently had advice that we need to make contact with those who made representations.

"The letters were due to be delivered today. Evening News 7th Aug 08

We in the Independent Republic will give a full account of what all this means once we have received our do check blog tomorrow

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Edinburgh World Heritage

NEW methods of providing funding for conservation charity Edinburgh World Heritage are to be investigated by the council.

Changes to the council's accountancy practices have meant that it is no longer able to provide EWH with the same level of funding as in previous years, around £617,000 per annum.

Adam Wilkinson, director of EWH, has written to the council asking it to reconsider the changes, which will see the local authority cut grant funding by around £500,000.

In a report to the council's planning committee, Dave Anderson, the council's director of city development, said there were a number of options which the council should explore for funding.

And he stressed the council's commitment to finding funds for EWH."The funding of EWH is affected as a result of changes to accounting procedures that imply all funding to EWH must become revenue funding," he said. "This puts pressure on already restricted revenue budgets."He added that the council would be best to re-examine the funding issue after an ongoing assessment of the management of world heritage sites undertaken by EWH.

The following is from the minutes of EWHT 55th Board Meeting May 2008
Future funding of EWHT

Item 21 onwards
The Finance & General Purposes Committee had discussed funding issues raised
by Alan Henderson’s letter of 14 March 2008 at its meeting immediately
preceding the board.

The Committee recommended that EWH should make a direct approach to
politicians at an appropriate level (rather than to City officials) to explain the
impact of the proposed cuts
They needed to be made aware that such a
significant cut in funding would have a profoundly detrimental impact on the
city, which would reflect badly on its WH status and cause embarrassment. The
Committee proposed that EWH should ask for continuing financial support from
CEC & HS until there was a steady income stream from repayable grants. EWH
would need to support the proposal with a strategy and statistics on the
anticipated income and timescale of repayments.

The Director was due to meet Cllr Jenny Dawe and it was suggested that this
should be followed by a more formal meeting with the Chairman.

The Director was also due to meet the new Director of City Development.
It was agreed that EWH should pursue the question of receiving funding from a
different Council budget, other than the City Development Department, which
had received a significant cut in funding.

Will Garrett suggested that EWH might become involved in restoring CEC owned
properties, for which there could be funding.

The board highlighted the following points for raising in future discussions:-

• The need to meet UNESCO requirements to preserve Edinburgh as a
WHS (not referred to in Alan Henderson’s letter)
• [reserved as confidential business]

• CEC needs to be made aware of the long lead time required to
generate applicants’ interest. If funding withdrawn it would be difficult
to regenerate enthusiasm (‘Grangemouth syndrome’) [reserved as
confidential business]

• Larger projects need long-term commitment. [reserved as confidential
business]. A 3-year rolling programme is essential. UNESCO recommends
5 years needed to plan ahead with confidence. (Management
Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Sites, p.5)
• The difficulty of fitting work into a rigid timetable.
• If CEC funding withdrawn, it might have profound effect on HS funding.

• EWH should show examples of the excellent work and additional value
achieved by its grant schemes and projects.

• Demonstrate shift to focus on regeneration.

• Bear in mind that small projects can generate a lot of interest and bring
added value (eg event to mark restoration of Duke of Buccleuch

• The proposal to raise funds on a project by project basis might not work
as a spread of prospective schemes was needed to achieve
results/spend. In particular, if EWH is increasingly looking at supporting
areas of regeneration these are harder to get going.

It was noted that Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust operates on a
project by project basis and it might be worth speaking to them.

It was confirmed that HS was awaiting the recommendations in the Tribal report
on EWH and the City Heritage Trusts before taking a decision on future funding
and the continuation of a three-year funding programme. However, it was
noted that HS supported the work of the Trust as a whole, rather than identifying
areas of work in response to bids.

The recommendations of the Finance & General Purposes Committee were
agreed. The Director was asked to produce an outline paper on funding,
including fund-raising and lobbying, for the Board meeting on 14 July. The
Chairman proposed that board members should be allocated tasks at this
stage. Detailed proposals would be discussed at the awayday in the Autumn.

A report following the Grants & Projects Committee on 7 May had been
circulated. This showed the severity of the effects of cuts in funding by CEC and
Historic Scotland and the uncertainty of the future of the Conservation Funding
It cited examples of a few of the many projects which would not be carried out
if continued funding was not secured [reserved as confidential business].