Napier leaves Craighouse campus for the last time

Workers begin to secure the Craighouse site after staff left. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Workers begin to secure the Craighouse site after staff left. Picture: Alex Hewitt

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UNIVERSITY chiefs have vacated the contentious Craighouse site leaving workmen to move in and board up the historic listed buildings.

The main gateway at the former Napier University campus is also to be blocked off as developer, The Craighouse Partnership, comprising of Napier University, Mountgrange Investment and Sundial Properties, want to protect the site from vandals and metal thieves.

Access to the site, which is popular with local dog walkers and runners, can now only be gained through the pedestrian gate beside the lodgehouse.

A site security station will be set up and temporary fencing erected around the buildings.Battery powered alarms will also be fitted and the site will be subject to regular inspection by security guards – a strategy for ventilating the buildings is also to be put in place.

Prices for homes on the site will start at £150,000 for a flat within the current New Craig building to £1.5m for a single home in the original building on site, Old Craig.

In a letter to ward councillors explaining the security ­measures Sundial Properties managing director Willie Gray Muir said: “With the departure of the students and staff the maintenance of the grounds will be substantially curtailed and will be focussed on the protection of the listed buildings and the health and safety of the public and site staff.

“Please be assured of our continued commitment to ­public access to the grounds as a whole both for this temporary period and for the long term.”

The controversial 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.

Development of the site has roused local passions with campaign group Friends of Craighouse (FOC) amassing a 5500-signature petition ­opposing the proposals and over 1200 official objections being lodged with city planners.

FOC spokeswoman Rosy Barnes said: “As the developer has now stopped maintaining the site the meadow is covered in wildflowers and there is a plethora of bees and insects, this only serves to reinforce what a special site this is for wildlife and as a green space.

“We are therefore encouraging people to continue using the site as much as possible.”

As to the site now being left deserted following the end of the academic session in June, she added: “These buildings are of national importance and I hope we do not end up in a ­position where we have our backs to the wall.

“I would hope the council ensures that the site is not held to ransom.”

A mid-August target for the hearing of the application by the Development Management Sub-committee has been scrapped as the developer is due to submit a number of amendments to the masterplan - dates for a further public consultation and a rescheduled hearing will be confirmed.

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com

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