Developer wants ‘at-risk’ status for Craighouse site

Inspectors from RCAHMS are still surveying Craighouse campus buildings.
Inspectors from RCAHMS are still surveying Craighouse campus buildings.
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SEVERAL A-listed buildings which are at the centre of the most controversial city development in years are to be declared “at risk”.

The buildings at Craighouse Campus are to be added to the national Buildings At Risk Register following a request from the developer The Craighouse Partnership.

The consortium, which is comprised of Sundial Properties, Mountgrange Investment and Napier University, has long stated that improvements to the historic buildings can only be paid for with funds raised from the building of 116 new homes on the site.

This claim has been disputed by campaign group Friends of Craighouse, which has also amassed more than 5000 signatories to a petition against the plans. Spokeswoman Rosy Barnes believes the latest twist in the long-running saga to be “a cynical ploy” by the developer to justify its proposal.

She said: “This has all the signs of a manipulative use of the system to try and force the council to accept the partnership’s excessive and unjustiable plans to put new-build across some of the most beautiful and protected parts of the landscape.”

William Gray Muir, director of Edinburgh-based Sundial Properties, said that he was the one who contacted Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) but refuted any allegation of it being a ploy on the consortium’s behalf.

He said: “The longer a building remains on the register the poorer the condition is likely to be and the greater the risk of ultimate demolition.

“Clearly Craighouse is a long way from any such threat, but as the register tacitly acknowledges, vacancy is perhaps the greatest threat to buildings.

“Until a sustainable long-term use is identified and implemented for the buildings at Craighouse they are, by definition, at risk.”

The register is maintained by the RCAHMS on behalf of Historic Scotland. However, it possesses no legal powers to compel developers to act on improving a building.

Alex Adamson, of the RCAHMS, said: “Usually we are alerted to a building being at risk by members of the public, councils or through media interest but it can also be developer-led.

“Our inspections are still ongoing but I expect several of the buildings to be placed on the register by the end of next week. As things stand at present there is no clear future for the buildings which offers an element of risk in itself.”