Leading Scots tourism expert hits out at 'short-sighted' plans to create 2000 homes next to Edinburgh sculpture park
The author of the “Scotland the Best” guide said the award-winning attraction was even more valuable to the city since it was a year ago because of the surge in popularity of outdoor spaces and attractions during the pandemic.
He has spoken out months after Jupiter Artland’s creators, art collectors Robert and Nicky Wilson, launched a campaign against what they have branded “Edinburgh's least sustainable housing proposal.”
Land at Calderwood is one of five green belt sites earmarked for potential new housing developments as part of a 10-year blueprint, despite the council insisting that its preferred option is to use brownfield sites.
The couple, who spent several years creating Jupiter Artland at their 80-acre Bonnington House estate Wilkieston, say allowing new housing to be built nearby would “rupture the peace” and deter artists from creating bespoke work for its natural landscape in future.
Ahead of a final decision on the new Edinburgh City Plan, they have lodged a 10-page dossier with councillors warning that its future as an “internationally recognised treasure” was at stake.
Mr Irvine said: “You don’t need to be a culture lover or know very much about art to enjoy Jupiter Artland.
"It offers a completely unique experience in a unique environment that the artists have responded to with their work. It’s very much part of the countryside.
"It’s a very important asset for both West Lothian but it’s also an important part of Edinburgh’s rich diversity of cultural experiences.
"It would be a real pity if they built an essential urban development within site of Jupiter Artland when a lot of the art could be there for the next century. It would be very short-sighted.”
Jupiter Artland’s dossier for councillors states: “The collection at Jupiter can never be relocated, moved or recreated elsewhere.
"Our stunning designed landscape setting is critical to our continued success and growth.
“The houses proposed could go anywhere, but Jupiter Artland cannot exist anywhere else.
"Future artists may withdraw from our artistic programme and there is a very real risk that investment plans can no longer proceed if the very essence of what has attracted it were to be destroyed.
"It is not simply that the proposals threaten our current operation. They threaten our future growth as a permanent, thriving cultural destination and internationally recognised treasure for the people of Scotland.”
Council planning convener Neil Gardiner said: “We’ve made clear our preferred choice for future development in our forthcoming City Plan is for sustainable ‘brownfield’ development, including to provide much needed housing.
“Land at Calderwood, which is close to Jupiter Artland, has been identified as one of many potential sites to be considered as part of the housing analysis work. As these are choices, not all the potential sites may be taken forward.
“It is very important to make clear that as a city we have an ambitious target to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030. Therefore the relative contribution of any site to sustainability will be a key consideration."
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.