Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Check out tonight's story in the Evening News here
However questions still need to be asked, why then last month did council high heid yins tell Old Town residents that the tenement flats were not loosing any money because they were on a "void account"?
Mr Lowrie's nose will be getting bigger - the council still owns the majority of the land, the buildings and the homes, they do not belong to the administrators. They hope that voiding them will make the Bank of Scotland's gap site more attractive to a developer, and that is what DeLoitte the administrator hope too i.e. look at all the viable land/buildings around the gap site, what a lovely opportunity.
The council should admit that they made a terrible mistake to be taken in my confidence tricksters against the community and conservationists who tried every trick in the book to tell them that Caltongate was a dystopia and a con.
With hundreds of thousands of pounds spent every month on putting homeless people in bed and breakfast accommodation - putting the flats back into use even as temporary accommodation will be welcomed. Though in the longer term the Republic would like to see secure tenures in the Macrae tenements.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Get your panstick back out Trevor..
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
A SENIOR city councillor has landed himself in hot water by making an obscene one-fingered gesture to carol-singing protesters.
Remember this from December 2006?
Full story here -Councillor in One Finger Salute
Below is one of the carols adapted and sung by a group of Save Our Old Town Campaigners as councillors, architects and other wanabees entered a champagne reception hosted by Caltongate Developers Mountgrange at The Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street, close to the proposed development.
Mountgrange director Manish Chande, lied in the press in May 2008. He claimed that the wife of Trevor Davies had verbal abuse shouted at her from one of the carol singing campaingers . We are still awaiting a retraction of this blatent lie.Full story here
Eleven planners planning
Ten global chain stores
Nine builders building
Eight PR spinners Seven legal experts
Six cows a conning
A five star hotel
Four wrecking balls
and Mountgrange now in admin....is...tra...tion
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
We met Maria and Guje in May last year when one of the Common Good campaigners introduced them to us during The Canongate Project. It was important for them to meet people who live and or work in The Old Town, where Annie spent the last few months of her life.
Maria and Guje are campaining to find out the truth about what happened to Maria`s daughter Annie who was found dead on the shore in Prestwick 4 dec 2005. Annie worked at the Scottish Whisky Experience (at the Castle) during the summer 2005.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
This is one of the questions that the newly established Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust , will be asking at its first public meeting this Thursday 26th November at Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge from 7.30pm
Catriona Grant a local resident and director of the trust, said today "Last week in Venice the last remaining long term residents held a mock funeral to dramatise the flight of residents from their city's heart. We may be holding one here soon, if we do not take action now. Like the Venetians we need affordable and also non HMO sized family housing, which encourages people, especially families, to stay or move into the area. Like Venice, prices are steep in the historic centre, and many landlords demand much more money, by advertising over the Internet to short stay visitors than long-term rentals to residents."
She added "We however as residents then have to live with the consequence of these which are often large hen and stag parties. We have become unpaid concierges and are disturbed at all hours, it is only because of a loophole in the law that they are turning the Old Town into one big unregulated hotel. There are health and safety issues that no one has addressed yet, as well as the obvious almost daily loss of long term inhabitants, with the knock on effect of losing local shops and perhaps even the last remaining school, along with other vital community facilities which ensure a living neighbourhood."
Sean Bradley, a director of the trust and Chair of the Grassmarket Residents' Association said today
"A community's greatest asset is its residents. The Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust is an historic opportunity for the people of the Old Town to shape its future for the benefit of all - that means improving opportunities and the quality of life for everyone"
Last year's community research, The Canongate Project , showed that more support and facilities are needed for the residential population if a ‘living city’ is to be maintained in the Old Town. The research also highlighted the need for affordable housing, family sized homes, a better mix of local shops, community facilities, play space, public toilets, safe and usable green public space, along with residents having a say in future developments in the Old Town.
The meeting is to include discussion on the trusts possible projects and Ian Cooke, Director of The Development Trusts Association Scotland will give an introduction to the fast growing network of development trusts across Scotland, and highlight the real differences they are making to the communities in which they are based.
Catriona ends “So we are urging those who live in the area and outwith to come along and become a member of the trust. Help shape the future projects and the role the trust can play in an area, which is becoming increasingly dominated by tourism and the night-time economy often at the expense of those who call it home”
Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust Meeting Details -
The Public Meeting of The newly formed Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust which also covers the Dumbiedykes area is on
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The RTPI is examining a complaint from former member Bob Marshall, of Glasgow, claiming that planning director Christine Gore failed to act with integrity and independence while handling the Trump Organisation’s application."
A YouGov poll has revealed that 74% were against the use of the powers to help the tycoon buy more land for the £1billion complex at the Menie Estate at Balmedie.
Just 13% supported the idea."
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I was the then director of development for the city of Edinburgh council throughout the planning process up to the recommendation to grant consent and the endorsement of that recommendation by the council planning committee. At no time in that process did Unesco approach me or seek to obtain any meaningful information regarding the proposals. The concept of world heritage sites is eminently supportable. The policing by a self-appointed elite with communication limited to its own coterie is not. The failure to proceed with the development is, like so many others, down to the market and not the views of Unesco."
“City planning leader Cllr Jim Lowrie said: "I really don't feel that we are that far behind Glasgow in terms of the speed of the planning process, but the problem in Edinburgh is the number of historic buildings and the need to address heritage concerns. "However, we don't want to fall behind and it's very important we listen to organisations like the chamber. "We have to get big developments like Caltongate up and running as soon as we can."Given the views expressed by Councillor Lowrie in the Edinburgh Evening News of 11th October 2007 there was clear evidence of such a breach in the public domain, and in the circumstances the convenor should have been removed from his office with immediate effect. The Council’s failure to apply article 7 of the code in this instance would appear to call into question the validity of the vote and subsequent award of the planning consent to Mountgrange Caltongate Ltd, and should be reviewed as a matter of urgency. The economic relationship between the council and the developer in this case has the characteristics of an institutionalised public-private partnership.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
The trouble with modernist architecture is that it one of the failed utopias of 19th-century central European intellectualism - just like communism, in fact. Walter Gropius, trapped in a collapsed building during the First World War, associated the decorative exuberance of 19th-century architecture with the hypocrisy and decadence that gave rise to the war. In its place, he would establish a new purity in which ornament was banished in favour of the lofty interplay volume and form. This utopia might never have got of the ground had Gropius’s protégé Mies van der Rohe not fled to the USA to establish what became known as the International School, happily meeting the developers’ need for maximum floor space at minimum cost, and their clients’ desire to flaunt their corporate machismo with massive steel and glass erections.
Like all utopian projects, modernist architecture is fundamentally authoritarian, informed by top-down planning, an excessive love of order and an almost pathological hatred for the higgledy-piggledy, organic growth that characterises all well-loved cityscapes.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
We thought we could help out with fulfilling not only this architect`s wants this Christmas but help all those in crisis with no real buildings to knock down, lives to upset and big phallic ugly high rise towers to build in this recession.
So for all you wee boys and girls, you know who you all - you architects, you developers, you in the Chamber of Commerce, you in the council planning and others departments, you in the government, you the PR Spin doctors, even you American tycoons (though there may not be a unspolit stretch of coastline on the board for grabs) here`s something to keep you all happy from Santa this year, you can even play online....while we can all sleep soundly in our beds...and with a tag line of
Saturday, 31 October 2009
What drove someone to do this? A clear, transparent planning system?
Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Jim Lowrie is the current convener of planning at theCity of Edinburgh Council
Malcolm Fraser's contribution to the failed Caltongate
Malcolm Fraser is the architect behind developments including the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Dance Base
"We have to find a way forward between the anodyne and the hubristic".
No quote from the hotel architect Richard Murphy though..but here is one from a piece he did for The Independent a few years ago about his home
"If I was to live anywhere else, I think it would definitely be another city like Barcelona, where they really appreciate architects and the resulting architecture is a joy and beauty to live with."
perhaps he has moved already?
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
This Scotsman is no too happy either about the decision..
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Plans for a 17-storey luxury hotel in Edinburgh have been rejected by Scottish ministers.
The futuristic building at Haymarket was the centrepiece of a £250m redevelopment of the area.
The decision has been described as "an enormous setback" by the city's Chamber of Commerce.
The proposals were initially approved by the city council but have now been thrown out by ministers following a public inquiry.
The proposal, by Tiger Developments, would have seen a leaf-shaped hotel built on a gap site next to the railway station.
When the plans were approved in June last year, Tom Buchanan, the council's economic development convenor, described it as a significant regeneration project for an area "in much need of redevelopment".
However, following Tuesday's announcement, Graham Birse of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said: "By reaching this conclusion ministers have done nothing to encourage sustainable development in our capital city at a time when the longest recession in living memory is making deep and painful inroads into our economy.
"This project was ready to roll, and offered £250m investment, 2,150 jobs and a five star hotel brand new to Edinburgh in Intercontinental Hotels.
"It is an enormous set-back to the city's recovery and slap in the face to the efforts that went into delivering this project locally."
Monday, 26 October 2009
Has time come for common ground to be reclaimed by its local communities? This is the title of article in yesterdays Sunday Herald. see below for article. There is common good land in the land earmarked for development in Edinburgh`s Old Town.
Scottish Parliament Evidence Giving Sessions on The Common Good
Link to all archived evidence and papers from sessions & Official Report
See Common Good Day Scotland posting for more information and links on Common Good
Published on 25 Oct 2009 In The Sunday Herald by David Ross
It could be a hill, a moor or a village green and town hall; fisheries or grazing rights; even a prestigious city centre site.
All over Scotland there are still thousands of parcels of the different forms of common land and other historical assets, which local people effectively own and which could be multi-million pound earners for their communities, according to one of Scotland’s leading land-reform campaigners.
However, Andy Wightman warns it is time they were reclaimed. Too many were lost down the centuries, unlawfully assumed by private landowners or transferred by corrupt public officials.
“All of Scotland was once held in common,” he said. “The process of privatisation and the development of the system of land law pushed common land rights to the margins and still, today, the existence of such rights is often dismissed out of hand by legal authorities.
“Enough evidence, however, has come to light over the past few years to demonstrate that such rights do still exist and that diligent research can help to recover and assert communal rights in land.”
Wightman has produced a 94-page guide to help local people identify their historical assets and establish their legal rights to them. This so they can benefit financially from any development proposed, or make their own plans.
He points to the likes of Waverley Market in Edinburgh, which could have been earning the city’s common good fund more than £1million a year in rent, plus half the £37.5m earned by selling the leasehold, if the council had handled things differently. But all the fund has received since 1982 was 23p.
In another example from Carluke, local people missed out on potential wind-farm revenues because they were unaware of rights they had in 86 acres of common land.
In contrast, there are long-standing success stories such as the Dornoch Firth Mussel Fishery which has been owned as a common resource by the people of Tain since 1612, when the ownership of the mussel scalps and the right to fish them was bequeathed to the Easter Ross community by James the Sixth.
Mr Wightman, author of the seminal work Who Owns Scotland and founder of the website of the same name, says he is convinced that it is an idea whose time has come, not least because of fears the community land-ownership movement that led to the purchase of Assynt, Eigg, Knoydart and Gigha has run our of financial and political steam.
But he stresses this is as much to do with the future as with the past.
“The issue of community land and other rights is especially relevant following the award of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Elinor Ostrom, an American academic who has championed the commons and demonstrated that, despite what is often believed, common resources such as land, water and fisheries can be sustainably managed by communal co-operative institutions,” he said.
“Indeed, she has gone beyond that to show that, in many cases, the commons provide a better model for resource management than either private or state ownership. At a time when the world is crying out for alternative
ways forward it is encouraging to see that the commons are being recognised as one of the success stories and not, as so often has been the case, an anachronism that should be replaced by private or state interests.
“The relevance of this in a Scottish context is twofold. First there is a lot of land still held in common across the country that has been forgotten about.
“The danger is that if common rights are not asserted, they will meet the same fate as so much land in Scotland and be appropriated into private hands.
“Community Land Rights is a manual designed to provide communities with the research tools they need to identify, assert and recover their common heritage.
“Second, much more needs to be done to assert common land rights and promote them as an important part of community regeneration in Scotland.”
Andy Wightman's site here www.scottishcommons.org/
Thursday, 8 October 2009
The poem's title greets visitors to the Scottish Poetry Library just off the Canongate
“This is a green world, with animals comparatively few and small,
and all dependent on the leaves.
By leaves we live.
Some people have strange ideas that they live by money.
They think energy is generated by the circulation of coins.
Whereas the world is mainly a vast leaf colony,
growing on and forming a leafy soil,
not a mere mineral mass:
and we live not by the jingling of our coins,
but by the fullness of our harvests.”
Members of Save Our Old Town ended their deputation to the council planning committee on the 9th March 2006 with the poem, when they asked for a longer public consultation period on the Caltongate Masterplan and for consideration of the community alternative strategy.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
When Liverpool council were offered to twin with Dubai, they thought why stop at that and why not go the whole hog and look like their new twin city...
Liverpool Preservation Trust Blogspot
Monday, 5 October 2009
After the fall
Banking turned Edinburgh into a boom town. What has happened to the city since the bubble burst?
"Besides, not everyone was comfortable with the boom-time Edinburgh. Right behind the stalled Caltongate development in the Old Town is the Carson Clark Gallery, a lovely labyrinth of a shop that has been selling period maps and prints of the city since 1969. Co-owner Paul Clark, an Edinburgh bohemian of the old school, with faintly piratical beard and slicked-back long hair, is delighted that Caltongate is not going ahead. "Do we need another five-star hotel?" he asks rhetorically. "Forget this luxury nonsense. This is not Dubai. These developments are the slums of the future. You can already see red rust dribbling out from the drainpipes of some of them." How has his shop done during the recession? "Up and down. But we needed a bit of a leveller in Edinburgh.""
Below the Macrae Tenements that were to make way for the 5- star hotel
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
In London local campaigners formed OPEN Shoreditch in January 2008 to resist inappropriate development in the area which offered insufficient community benefits and which threatened some of its unique buildings, the settings of its conservation areas and aspects of its local economy. You can read further details of the campaign here and here.
Save Shoreditch website
Sounds familiar doesn't it? But sometimes we have to remind ourselves that good things do happen..even though its not over
watch this space...........
watch this, it is sickening to watch, especially when you hear them talk about how to get rid of people who won't sell to Trump, falling into peat bogs??
Monday, 28 September 2009
Sign petiton to stop him clearing people from their homes
Anti Trump Protests held across Scotland see STV piece here
Remember CPOs would have to be enforced to enable Caltongate to happen.
see item 4.1 in this document by council
see more news at tripping up trump on spying story...
Friday, 25 September 2009
You can imagine our surprise when we read that one of Caltongate's architects, Malcolm Fraser is hitting out at his own inconstistency in approaching green building.....
Read article here -
"Particular scorn was reserved for the practice of demolishing existing buildings, often justified by touting the sustainable credentials in their replacements, but this was rubbished by Fraser who said: “the idea that you take a 100 year old building, cowp it in a landfill site replace it with cardboard and that will save the planet is extraordinary”.
Oh, the cheek of the man....does he think people have short memories...
you were all for knocking down this 100 year old building and putting it in a cowp!
Remember the buildings he was supporting the demolition of and the views he wanted to ruin? see here
Perhaps if Mr Fraser admitted his past intentions and ate a piece of humble pie, perhaps people would believe his words he so freely spouts nowadays, now that the hey day of anything can be demolished in the name of economic benefit is over and attending developer's champagne receptions..