Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Re-posting: Edinburgh Caltongate Campaign

Dear supporters of the Caltongate/ No Confidence in the City of Edinburgh Planning Department Petitions.

You may have heard that the controversial 'Caltongate' development has been re-branded 'New Waverley', so with the stroke of a pen all the controversy and campaigning associated with this protracted debacle is seemingly buried.

A glitzy video now accompanies the re-branding exercise which helps to convey the considerable mass and soulless nature of the development, available to view at: http://newwaverley.com/

Amidst all the corporate eye candy the developer unashamedly states that the design is “Enticingly Modern” yet was in fact deemed not “hideous” enough to refuse planning permission, only gaining consent by a narrow margin. The insensitivity of the developer is further revealed in claiming that the scheme is “Community Friendly” when in fact the vast majority of the local community have been incensed by the dodgy deal of valuable public assets sold for private speculation which have now lain empty for almost 10 years and the subsequent plans for re-development. The 5000+ signatures of the original 38 Degree petition reflect this.

The Old Town is now under considerable pressure from rampant development revealing a flagrant disregard for the heritage and community at the very heart of the nation which now threatens the coveted World Heritage status. Numerous other major developments earmarked across Edinburgh are also courting controversy, threatening historic buildings and priceless Greenbelt land, betraying the aspirations of the Community Empowerment Bill which states “Scotland’s people are its greatest asset, and best placed to make decisions about their future... community empowerment is about communities taking their own decisions about their futures”.

Edinburgh's Local Development Plan, which frames the way land is allocated in the city for the next 10 years and beyond, has just been passed by the Planning Committee but criticised as putting “developer greed above housing need”, once again revealing the bias towards private speculation.

In light of the Council's mishandling of the Caltongate affair and mindful of the other controversial developments of national importance, the original 38 Degree petition was followed by the 'No Confidence' petition. To date this petition has collected 3000+ signatures reflecting the public's disaffection and disillusionment with the Council and the planning process. Buoyed by the support of prominent individuals such as Alexander McCall Smith, Irvine Welsh, William Boyd, William Dalrymple and AL Kennedy it is hoped that the petition can gain sufficient standing to be taken seriously.

The intention is to submit the petition to Scottish Ministers in the coming weeks in order to call for a public enquiry into the integrity of the Council's Planning department and a much needed review of the planning system before other major developments are granted permission.

So in a world of ever greater demands and distractions, if you've managed to get this far do consider forwarding this appeal to others who might also consider giving support:

Thank You for your continuing interest... may all this mouse clicking yet bear results!

Here's to a future founded on Common Sense and Decency that upholds the principle of genuine democracy, giving primary consideration to community empowerment.

Yours and All That,
Simon Byrom                                             

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