Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Sunday, 27 April 2008
I read this in the Guardian Weekend Magazine yesterday and it really worried me. In Cambodia the government has sold off half it's land to developers to build.....guess what? How did you guess? Yeah you got it HOTELS!!!!!!!!! Cambodia wants to compete with Thailand as a tourist resort so every scrap of beach front is being sold off plus other land. Farmers and fishermen and women forcibly removed from their land . It puts things into perspective but that hotels are more important than communities, homes and people. What a sad world we live in. Sofitel has a hotel just a few kilometres from Ankor Wat, an UNESCO site
Here's the article here
Friday, 25 April 2008
Weekend Launch of
“THE CANONGATE PROJECT”
Sat. 3RD & Sun. 4TH May
11am – 4pm
No.8 ST. MARY`S STREET
(Just off the Royal Mile)
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
The following article is in today`s Evening News By ADAM MORRIS
TWO movie-making brothers who scored an unlikely internet hit have finished their new film – for an online bid to attract visitors to the Capital.
Ewen and Al Meldrum spent two years producing a "time-lapse" film, sitting in one spot for hours to take hundreds of shots of the city. As the News revealed last year, it has since become one of the most viewed Edinburgh films on video sharing website, YouTube.Now the brothers have completed their highest-profile production so far, an eight-minute time-lapse film for Edinburgh World Heritage.It is expected to be linked to tourism websites such as VisitScotland, a favourite for millions of people thinking of booking a Scottish break.Health worker Ewen, 39, said he was overwhelmed at the prospect of the latest film being viewed around the world.He said: "As it stands, we put our stuff up on YouTube which is fine, but there's no advertising with that and you just rely upon people coming across it by chance or by word of mouth."The brothers, who spend a significant chunk of their free time sitting in remote corners of Edinburgh filming the city by day and night, have also been commissioned to work for a US cable channel which wants them to film the Scottish Highlands and Islands.And, a year on from their breakthrough production – Koya Moments – Ewen said they had both learned new techniques in the filming of time-lapse movies."Before we would spend months doing it, but we learned a few techniques that speed things up and we were able to finish the Edinburgh World Heritage film in around seven weeks," he said. "We were filming around the time when a lot of roadworks were coming in and bits of the city being dug up so it became problematic towards the end."The latest film focuses on the public spaces of Edinburgh and how peo
ple relate to them, mixed in with some beautiful shots of the Capital's famous landmarks. The brothers – who work under the name Meltec – completed the film in time for last week's World Heritage Day.David Hicks, communications manager for EWH, said it would be a huge asset for the organisation. He said: "It's a fantastic piece of work and shows Edinburgh in a wonderful light."The idea is to get across how public spaces are just as important to Edinburgh's World Heritage status as the landmarks, and how people react to public spaces and what they do in them. This film ties in perfectly with that."There is one scene in particular with a perfect crescent moon descending over the Castle which is my favourite."
Monday, 21 April 2008
The hotel operator are prepared to go in and build their 5 star Sofitel hotel where historical buildings and homes should stay, just so they can have a sought after address on Edinburgh`s Monopoly board - The Royal Mile.
The founder of the Accor group has been in the news lately talking about his bike ride in Tibet
And it looks like Mountgrange wants to help spread SOOT all over the Auld Reekie once again, by having real fires in the exclusive rooms, so much for their green washing of it all with their underground heating source system paid by the British Taxpayer awarded by Alastair Darling.....(the social housing will not be served by it of course, now don`t be silly) They think that we don`t know that it is environmentally damaging to knock down sound stone buildings (emodied energy) and replace them with lumps of concrete and glass.....but hey, if they mention the words sustainability, underground source heating, Department of Trade and Industry giving grants!! then tee hee we will be fooled.
"Chande told Property Week: ‘The upper floors will have the “wow factor”, with stunning views over the Old Town and Calton Hill from the presidential suite. There are real chimneys, so guests can enjoy proper fires in their rooms. " Article
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Colin Macleod, Pollok Free State
Now that public space in Glasgow is once again under threat the story of the Pollok Free State is as important today as it was ten years ago.
Save Our Botanics
All Tomorrows Particks
The Privatisation Of Space
Common Good Website
The Canongate Project is hosting a Common Good Day Scotland on Saturday the 24th May 10-4pm at the Community Shop, 8 St Marys St. Campaigners from Glasgow and throughout Scotland will be gathering to discuss this very important movement which is gathering momentum.Full Programme Here
Friday, 18 April 2008
Fifty flags of World Heritage Site countries are to be flown from the Scott Monument.
Friday's spectacle, to coincide with the firing of the One O'Clock Gun, marks World Heritage Day.
Volunteers will carry flags to the four levels of the monument and at the sound of the gun will display them from its viewing galleries. City culture leader Deidre Brock said: "The Scott Monument will be full of colour for 15 minutes." She added: "So it really will be worth stopping to look up right after the One O'Clock Gun. "Flags will fly from the bottom right to the top so people will be able to see from some distance, in fact it's worth a visit after the event because a climb to the top offers some of the best panoramic views in the city." The display will be followed by a public seminar at the Storytelling Centre on the value the World Heritage status brings to the city with speakers including director of Edinburgh World Heritage Adam Wilkinson, Edinburgh City Council leader Jenny Dawe and John Graham, chief executive of Historic Scotland.
Canongate Community Forum is proud to present an innovative 6 week long project to document the historic heart of Edinburgh ’s Old Town , an area that is the focus of a hugely controversial re-development plan.
The launch of the programme on April 18th coincides with World Heritage Day, commemorated around the world which offers the opportunity to debate issues of world heritage and how it can be protected and conserved.
The Canongate Project has been made possible through a grant from the Scottish Communities Action Research Fund (SCARF) and features an in-depth documentation of the area and its people, seminar’s and talks from a range of bodies and individuals, community based activates such as banner making and a film festival, culminating in a street party on Saturday 28th June.
Scotland’s internationally renowned arts impresario Richard Demarco begins the programme with his talk “A Portrait of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site” on Monday 5th May 2pm, booking is advised for this and all other talks and walks which will prove to be popular.
The Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, The Cockburn Association and other conservation and community focused organisations will be among other talks.
Common Good expert Andy Wightman is one of the many gathering for the Common Good Day Scotland on Saturday May 24th. Campaigners from all over the country will be discussing and making plans to continue the reclaiming of land and assets belonging to the people of Scotland .
Canongate Community Forum secretary and Save Our Old Town campaigner Sally Richardson said; “We are proud to be presenting a packed programme of events and activities as part of the Canongate Project. “During the 6 weeks Edinburgh ’s historic Old Town will have its life and people documented by the community along with activities everyone can get involved in.”
Monday, 14 April 2008
Leaders Report Here
from the report - 5. Caltongate
Much has been written about the proposed development at Caltongate. Clearly, people have their own opinions and they have taken the opportunity to express them very eloquently. Whatever your view of the outcome, what has been reinforced to me is the extraordinary amount of work required of both Planning officials and Committee members in understanding and processing such major development proposals. Quite rightly, members of the Planning Committee are very protective of their independence from the party political process and, in that spirit, I should like to thank everyone involved in the complex process of taking the proposals through the Committee stage. I await with interest the final determination by Scottish Ministers.
But remember this from May 2007, when Leader Dawe was newly elected?
Cllr Dawe said: "I'm not anti-development at all. However, I do believe that any development must respect the heritage of the city. Malcolm Fraser is a very well known and respected architect and I was astounded to discover he was behind those images which appeared in the Evening News last week. The images were just grotesque and hideous. "I would've expected someone of his reputation to produce something a bit more sympathetic to its surroundings, but they were pretty gross."
(Her planning committee took less than 10 minutes to pass this building at the committee on the 6th February, people could not believe their ears or eyes when witnessing this contempt for the city and its people by this table of people having a laugh about how they were all adults and wanted to get home for their tea, it wasn`t even past 7pm, on a scheme so important and large, they could not be bothered. Cllr Rob Munn SNP for Nrth Edin and Leith, who hardly contributed all day became very vocal on the subject of getting home)
Cllr Dawe also raised concerns about the approach of developers Mountgrange, Full Article Here
"The Caltongate development is an important regeneration project for the city centre.
Friday, 11 April 2008
Matt Johson of band the The above is a member of the campaign Save Shoreditch in London and the voiceover for their excellent campaign Video Here
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. Now a 53 storey tower block is proposed – threatening 233 Shoreditch High Street with demolition.Save The Light
All too depressingly familiar isn`t it?
The country is run by politicians for developers and other big business, no wonder the ballot box is seen to be as much use as a
To Stop Caltongate we can always try to get the right thing done, even although we may not be Manish Chande or Donald Trump....perhaps the Brave New Scotland will take the lead in the UK wide battle to stop the disgusting wholesale sell-off of our homes, neighbourhoods, historical buildings, public space, land , common good land and assets...go on...Act Now
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Council OKs New Edinburgh townhouse project
PATRICK DARE, Published: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa council approved a townhouse development Wednesday for New Edinburgh that critics fear could be the first of many developments that will be too big for the community.
Council voted to allow demolition of the nondescript house at 132 Stanley Ave. and construction of six three-storey townhouses by Larco Corporation on the lot bounded by Stanley, Queen Victoria Street and River Lane.
David Sacks, president of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance, said the development will be a "bad precedent" for a community that is supposed to be protected as a heritage conservation area. The community association objects to the size of the townhouses, their height and resulting loss of privacy for immediate neighbours, the lack of greenspace and the inclusion of two-car garages in the plans.
Mr. Sacks says a piece of property nearby might also be a candidate for such a development.
Paul McConnell, co-chair of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance heritage and development committee, said the development flies in the face of heritage guidelines and the best advice from the city's heritage experts.
"It's open season," said Mr. McConnell. "There's no credibility in the heritage guidelines anymore."
Elizabeth Jorgensen, a member of the heritage and development committee, said she was "a little stunned" by council's decision to OK the development.
"It's inappropriate. The scale, the design," she said.
The city's heritage advisory committee argued against the project, saying the mass and density of the development "does not fit the streetscape."
But Barry Padolsky, one of Ottawa's best-known architects, supported the development in a written report, saying the new buildings would add to the architecture of the street and would not harm the heritage value of the neighbourhood.
The council vote was 19-1 for demolition of the existing house and 14-6 in favour of the townhouse project.
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Developer Mountgrange is caught up in a wrangle over a new scheme in Edinburgh’s Old Town and faces a sleaze allegation.
Caltongate for conservationists and the local residents group in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, the name represents a dirty word.
On the one side of an ongoing development feud is Mountgrange, which last month won planning consent for 10 out of 12 elements of a £300m scheme on 6.5 acres near the Scottish capital’s Royal Mile.
The company, established by Trillium founder Manish Chande in 2002, is on target to provide a new luxury hotel, 205 homes – 42 of which will be affordable housing around 250,000 sq ft of offices and a retail square at the New Street site near the city’s historic Royal Mile.
On the other side are local campaigners, who object to the demolition of two listed buildings.
On top of this a recent investigation by The Times has the pulled the developer into a sleaze row after it was revealed it donated £4,000 to a champagne reception hosted by the Labour party, weeks before a vital stage of planning consent was granted (see below).
Mountgrange, which is based in London’s Mayfair, insists it has strained every sinew to make everyone happy. But on a regeneration scheme of this size, something has to give.
‘A lot of the complaints have come from the heritage bodies and people in the local community, but they don’t come up with an alternative,’ says Mountgrange property director Nick Berry. (This is a lie, see the community`s alternative which they came up with in Feb 2006)
‘We have jumped through every hoop the planners wanted us to.
’We have had large debates with Historic Scotland, which is largely now on side with what we are doing. We have consulted for four years we have bent over backwards.’ LIE! First Caltongate Masterplan shown in October 2005
Cosy with council
However, the company has been criticised for its closeness to Edinburgh City Council, which was, until recently, controlled by the Scottish Labour Party. It emerged that a gala business event, attended by Tony Blair and organised by the Scottish Labour Party, was given £4,000 by Mountgrange. The event took place in February 2007, weeks before the Labour-run city council granted Mountgrange permission to start work on site.
Mountgrange’s decision to sponsor the event has been called ‘unwise’ by Margo MacDonald, the independent MSP for the Lothians.
‘The thing that bothers me is that they’ve had 2,000 objections to this scheme,’ she tells Property Week. ‘It is not just desirable but imperative that the plans are gone over with a fine-tooth comb and are really subject to the utmost scrutiny.
‘Labour used to have such a hold over Scottish politics that it was accepted that contractors would cosy up with them. But since the political shake-up, people are more aware about what has been going on.
MacDonald has asked the Scottish parliament to call the plans in and says she cannot see how the scheme will avoid that happening.
But Berry says the donation was simply a part of Mountgrange’s strategy to establish itself among the business community in Scotland.
‘Like everyone else, we do these kind of things,’ he says. ‘We have a large business here and we are keen to show we’re not just a London-based company.
‘This was just an occasion when Tony Blair happened to be speaking in Glasgow – we were sponsoring the reception to a business dinner.’
“It is imperative that the plans are subject to the utmost scrutiny”
Margo MAcdonald, MSP
The firm also sponsored the cow parade in Edinburgh, when life-size painted cows were positioned around the capital to invite people to explore their home city. (On every cow they sponsored, Mountgrange had their name on a plaque! How convenient)
The scheme will have to go before the Scottish parliament in any event, as the city council has a stake in the scheme. Mountgrange bought some council-owned land around the site it owned, a former bus garage, which was due to be developed. The council will receive a small share of the profits from the site. ‘It was done to make sure the council didn’t sell us short,’ says Berry. ‘It only has a passive involvement.’
In October, eyebrows were also raised over the appointment of Donald Anderson, former council leader, as Scottish director of PPS, the public relations agency that is promoting Caltongate on behalf of Mountgrange.
The most controversial element of the scheme is a five-star Sofitel at the centre of the scheme. Two listed buildings are being demolished to make way for the 210-bed hotel, which will have the city’s largest conference facilities outside the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Edinburgh World Heritage says the replacement of the Sailor’s Ark building and former Canongate School with the proposed buildings will ‘in no way conserve or enhance the established character’ of the area.
‘You have to have sympathy with the campaigners,’ says Mountgrange’s Berry. (I bet you do!)
‘It is very difficult and very challenging to take down any listed building and rightly so.
‘But I think it is inevitable, to achieve a successful regeneration of this area. The reason is that the hotel is going to act as an anchor for the scheme. It is something that is going to be available to businesses, tourists and locals.’ ( ah now for locals Nick, does that mean prostitution or washing dishes?)
Old town, new quarter (the word quarter is not used in Scotland to describe areas of towns or cities, like Caltongate it is developer speak)
Berry insists the scheme is needed to regenerate the area, and that changes have to be made to some of the older buildings to gel the scheme into its surroundings. ( changes he means get rid of them!)
see rest of article here By David Doyle Property Week
Sunday, 6 April 2008
As there will be talks, film screenings, groups meeting and so on, they will all need somewhere to rest their bottoms...If you wish to lend us some, thats fine too
Email the Forum with details.
Details of the programme will appear soon on the blog and www.eh8.org.uk
Friday, 4 April 2008
If I'd read your report on Henderson Global Investors' plan to create Edinburgh's own 'Gherkin' tower (2 April) a day earlier, I'd have assumed it was an April Fool's joke.
Of all the preposterous architectural schemes mooted for the city in the past few months (Caltongate, for example) this one really takes the biscuit. Granted, the St James Centre is an eyesore, but to replace it with another one would be an act of extreme folly. To quote a recent Amy Winehouse hit: "No, no, no."
Martin Hetherington Scotsman Letters
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Written by Conservation Architect, James Simpson OBE
Edinburgh Old and New Towns World Heritage site:
On 6th February, the Edinburgh City Council was minded to approve major elements of the “Caltongate” re-development scheme, in the face of massive opposition from the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust and others, including a specially formed Canongate Community Forum which, through an effective web-site, has mobilised community support to keep homes for locals in the heart of the Old Town.
The “Caltongate” Site extends to 3.46ha on the North side of the Canongate, between Waverley Station and Holyrood, highly visible from the Calton Hill. The whole site is within the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1995. The plans commended by Councillors include a new five-star hotel, conference centre, houses and offices in the Old Town. It would involve the demolition of one listed building, all but the frontage of a second, and several tenanted houses.
Proposals to reduce 1930s stone-fronted tenements facing the Canongate were put on hold, with the developers, Mountgrange, being asked to look at ways of retaining the buildings for affordable housing. The Councillors’ decision will now be considered by Scottish Ministers.
ICOMOS-UK objected to the development, not on the grounds that the main part of the site - the former New Street bus garage - should not be developed, but because of the disastrous and unnecessary enlargement of the site to include adjacent land and buildings owned by the City Council, the disruption of the topography of the North side of the Old Town ridge, the unnecessary and unjustified demolition of listed and unlisted buildings in the Conservation Area, and for the sheer unattractiveness and inappropriateness of the proposals. As one resident put it ‘YES the bus garage site needs to be developed, but NO this is not the correct scheme and it will jar with everything else around it ....’.
The Old and New Towns were inscribed on the World Heritage list for their remarkable juxtaposition of two clearly articulated urban planning phenomena: the ‘herringbone’ burgh of the early Middle Ages, set on the tail of the crag, and the regular layout of the Enlightenment New Town, laid out on the high ground to the North. The harmonious relationship between these two contrasting historic towns, set astride what Sir Bernard Feilden has called the ‘great arena’ of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley valley, each with many important buildings, is what gives Edinburgh its unique character.
The burgage plots of the Canongate, founded as an ‘abbatial burgh’ dependent on the Abbey of Holyrood, were typically small and it is this pattern which gave the area its essential character and grain. Where this scale and grain has been respected, as in the development master-planned by John Hope to the South of the Canongate, the result is widely admired.
The “Caltongate” development as it stands will have a profoundly negative impact on the values of the World Heritage Site: it is also a missed opportunity to show that, if the fundamentals of size, scale and grain are got right, new development, however brave architecturally, can be successfully integrated with urban landscapes of international value. Edinburgh was for many years been seen as a trailblazer for urban conservation, commended for its far-sighted town planning policies initiated by Patrick Geddes - the father of town planning and of urban conservation - which had allowed the city’s skyline and urban spaces to evolve but maintain their significance over time.
“Caltongate” is symptomatic of a new trend towards development of extensive areas of cites as single projects - reminiscent, alas, of the Comprehensive Development Areas of the 1960s. Bath Western Riverside, a large, highly contentious scheme in the centre of the Bath World Heritage Site, is another. It extends to 35ha and thus occupies the same footprint as the Royal Crescent, the Circus, Queen’s Square, connecting streets, and some land to the south-west of these three great urban spaces, all combined. In Liverpool, Peel Holdings are floating plans for high-rise buildings, including 23,000 homes, along swathes of the land either side of the Mersey which would transform Liverpool in to a mini Shanghai.
All these projects raise the issue of how planning and redevelopment at this scale can respect the urban grain or sense of place in cities which have been recognised as having attributes marking them out as being of world significance. How should we define what is needed? As with so much else, Patrick Geddes’ principle of ‘conservative surgery’ puts the proper approach to the improvement of old cities in a nutshell. Geddes’ principles were followed to the South of the Canongate; not alas at “Caltongate”.
James Simpson gives the views of a long-standing Edinburgh resident on “Caltongate”:
· even more than the unlovable new City offices in Market Street, it intrudes into the Waverley valley and its podium disrupts the topography of the Old Town.
· the process through the planning system has been tortuous and exhausting for all concerned.
The suggestion that this particular development, and others like it, are essential for the wellbeing of the City is, frankly, bizarre. It is surely self-evident that it is the sheer quality and consistency of Edinburgh in architectural and planning terms, which are the foundations of Edinburgh's greatness. The recent succession of overlarge and inappropriate developments, of which “Caltongate” is currently the most important, are undermining those foundations.
Change is essential, and conservation is often said to be the management of change. If the “Caltongate” project is stopped in its tracks, then work can begin again in earnest on defining the sort of change which Edinburgh needs. This project must be stopped.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Write to them at St Andrew`s House, Regent Road, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG