Saturday, 31 October 2009

Keep on Blogging in the Free World

The government recently rejected the Haymarket plans that went against the council's own planning policies.

In the republic we hear that some say we shouldn't have a dig at those who have chosen to represent us in local or national government, well in a democracy that is what happens. They are not beyond reproach and will never be, otherwise we will be living in a ??

In the news yesterday was the story of a blogger causing a council to resign, this blogger here explains all and this is the blog here Muck&Brass

What drove someone to do this? A clear, transparent planning system?

Friday, 30 October 2009

It should have been me!

above the abandoned plans for Haymarket

This piece in today's Scotsman made us here in the republic think of this clip from the Vicar of have to laugh

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Remembering the Haymarket Horror

Jim Lowrie is the current convener of planning at theCity of Edinburgh Council
"WE WERE very disappointed that the planning committee's decision on Haymarket was overturned, but I don't think we have anything to apologise for."

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

Haymarket Howler RIP

What a Halloween we are enjoying....
"No, the decison is the wrong one ministers"
Remember this article from Building Design just before the recession really kicked in, where Haymarket Hotel Architect Richard Murphy said this -

"Apart from building my own house, my ambition in Edinburgh is to build one big public building before I die"

This Scotsman is no too happy either about the decision..

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Haymarket Horror Dead

Happy Halloween News
Local Chamber of Horrors not happy!

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

Common Good in Scotland - Time to Reclaim!

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

Thursday, 8 October 2009

National Poetry Day - "By Leaves we Live"

Today is National Poetry Day, here in the Old Town of Edinburgh we are celebrating with a poem from Patrick Geddes who lived here and worked to make it a better place to live

'By Leaves We Live’

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.”

- Patrick Geddes

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.

A close up showing the leaves in the SOOT Banner

The SOOT Banner was begun during The Canongate Project last year and will be making her public debut this Satrday. People involved in the Save Our Old Town Campaign have joined with others to support the need to celebrate and remember the work of women in the struggle for equality and universal sufferage.

Come and Join the Gude Cause March through Edinburgh Saturday 10th October 2009

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Liverpool is the New Dubai

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...

With Lyon already being recreated in Dubai, there are rumours that all the homes demolished in the pathfinder project being rebuilt there, so expats there can amble down the terraced streets in a Northern England theme park currently being built there..

Liverpool Preservation Trust Blogspot

Pathfinder Liverpool

Monday, 5 October 2009

This Is Edinburgh not Dubai

The following is from a piece in Saturday's Guardian Magazine by Andy Beckett full article here

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