CAMPAIGNERS fighting controversial plans to build on a Capital beauty spot have labelled the £90 million proposal “diabolical”.
Scaled-back plans for the former Napier University campus at Craighouse have been submitted to the city council – with the number of homes on the site reduced by almost a quarter in a move designed to quell critics’ fears.
The development will see a total of 153 units built on the site – 64 from the conversion of seven existing A-listed buildings and 89 new-builds. More than 30 acres of land are to be gifted to the public to “protect public access in perpetuity”.
William Gray Muir, managing director of Sundial Properties, which comprises the Craighouse Partnership alongside Napier University and Mountgrange, said he looked forward to working with the local community, and hoped “terms may now improve once the final plans are viewed”.
But campaign group Friends of Craighouse, which has amassed a 5000-signature petition opposing the proposal, remained defiant, describing 178,000sq ft of new-build property as “monumental”.
Spokeswoman Rosy Barnes said: “The idea that they are making concessions by pushing through these excessive amounts of new-build on Edinburgh’s seventh hill is laughable. Talking to locals, the word most commonly used about these plans is ‘diabolical’.
“This amount of new-build is the equivalent of all the listed buildings put together plus about 50 per cent again on top. Just look at the plans – eight development areas, a sprawling housing estate taking green space and woodland, large development on the lawn, massive office-style blocks around listed buildings. Need I go on? As for the eight-storey block of flats on the hill? I assume that must be a joke – attempting to distract us from the sprawling new-build that will ruin some of the most spectacular views in Edinburgh.”
The group also claims the intention is to construct all new-builds first, leaving the site’s listed buildings “at risk of not being converted at all”.
Ms Barnes said: “The plans say they will start with new-build and leave [A-listed] New Craig until last. This could be for years, which is a matter of some concern after what happened to some of the listed buildings at Quartermile and other sites.”
Asked about the developer’s gift of land, she added: “Whilst we would support any land coming into public or community ownership, this should not be used by the Craighouse Partnership as a sweetener to get excessive amounts of new-build on the rest of this highly protected site.”