With all eyes on Westminster, this is the blog to keep on top of things Order-Order Blogspot
Here in the republic it has got us thinking the questions we need answers to, will appear soon as it seems to be the order of the day...
In todays piece in The Scotsman on Herb Stovel giving his expert opinion in the Haymarket Inquiry, many in the comments on the article are asking these very questions
1. 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. Caltongate Given A Black Mark
2. A clear breach of Article 7 of the applicable code of conduct as set by the Standards Commission (Scotland) in the case of Planning Committee convenor Jim Lowrie.
The code states that a breach has been committed where a planning committee member expresses a prior public view ahead of a decision being taken, or where a member has lobbied, either overtly or covertly, for a particular interest group or to the commercial benefit of a particular applicant. In Article 11th Oct 07 it says
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.
“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 economic relationship between the council and the developer in this case has the characteristics of an institutionalised public-private partnership.
3. The recent report in The Times about Mountgrange`s donation to the Labour Party,
Mountgrange donate to Labour Party
which questions the fact that the Department of Trade and Industry, when it was being headed by the present Chancellor, Alistair Darling, assisted with the funding for an investigation into the project’s proposed heating system.
4. The statements of Historic Scotland chief inspector, Malcolm Cooper given his relationship with Mountgrange’s Mr Manish Chande Historic Scotland and Caltongate
5. The actions of Donald Anderson during his period as council leader should also be scrutinised, given his individual relationship with Mountgrange’s Mr Manish Chande.
Champagne Donation Under Fire
6. The very real prospect of the loss of World Heritage status for the city, see Dresden’s recent experience, arising from a proposal to build a bridge over the River Elbe.
7. And a question that so many people are asking - why is it that one architect, Allan Murray, seems to be involved with virtually every key project within the World Heritage Site, as well as Caltongate?
Caltongate or Edinburgh Must Die
8. The pro-active role of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in promoting the development
Mountgrange`s Manish Chande is head of their property portfolio group see page 4 of their magazine
Chambers Magazine and in Evening News Today Ron Hewitt of Chambers Roots For Caltongate