Fresh Craighouse row erupts over ‘defamatory’ blog post

RELATIONS between developers and campaigners battling over the future of the Craighouse university campus have sunk to a new low after a fresh row broke out.

A protest group has been threatened with legal action after developers claimed an internet blog post on the ongoing saga was defamatory.

Campaigners are at logger- heads with the Craighouse Partnership, which plans to build houses on the site despite thousands of people signing a petition against the move.

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Rosy Barnes, leader of the Friends of Craighouse campaign, received a solicitor’s letter warning her to remove comments questioning the maintenance of the Grade A-listed buildings on the campus.

The June 8 blog post called on the city council to inspect the buildings, which were recently put on the Buildings At Risk Register, and asked whether they were being looked after. But developer Sundial Properties (Gilmerton) and managing director William Gray Muir are now threatening to sue Miss Barnes over the post.

In the letter, lawyers demand that the post is removed in its entirety and that an unreserved apology is issued to Mr Gray Muir, Sundial and fellow developer Mountgrange.

Miss Barnes said: “I am absolutely stunned at this heavy-handed treatment of a local community blog. They have no right to censor the Friends of Craighouse website.

“The questions I have asked on the Friends of Craighouse blog are legitimate questions in the public interest.” But Mr Gray Muir said the attacks had now reached a personal level and claimed statements in the blog post were defamatory and damaging to his businesses reputation. Sundial Properties, which specialises in restoring and reusing listed buildings, employs 40 skilled staff and has restored 65 Grade A and B listed buildings in the Capital over a 30-year period.

He said: “This negative campaigning does not help advance the very important decisions which need to be made about the future of Craighouse campus.

“I fully understand that the Friends of Craighouse are entitled to comment on matters of public interest, however, I do not think it is reasonable for them to unfairly damage the reputation of a business on which so many livelihoods rely.

“We have written in some detail explaining the factual errors in their recent blog, but they still refuse to withdraw or correct their comments.”

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Ms Barnes said she would wait for the results of a council report on the buildings before making a decision on the contentious blog post. She said: “When we are reassured that the problems are sorted, we will be delighted to issue a post that the buildings are being maintained. If any of the information in our blog is found to be wrong or misleading, we will correct it.” A council spokesman said: “A visit to inspect the condition of the buildings will take place in the near future.”