Monday, 24 May 2010

The Caltongate Jig

The Scotsman have revealed that a deal is being negotiated between Edinburgh Council and Mountgrange's administrators Deloitte, with Allied London over the redevelopment of the Caltongate scheme.

The good news is Allied London are said be considering how to amend the plans to avoid the demolition of 2 Listed buildings and McRae tenements as they do not see the provision of a 5 star hotel as being integral to the redevelopment. However, it does not appear that much consideration has been given to the sale and demolition of the public buildings and Common Good Land on East Market Street which is now under investigation by the European Commission. 

The prospective new developers have indicated they would rather see the development more focused on 'government and commercial' uses (this sounds like offices,cafes and supermarkets). Still no talk of providing the much needed family homes then?

The residential character of Edinburgh's Old and New Towns is a fundamental characteristic of the place and something valued by visitors and citizens alike yet little is being done to ensure we continue to have a mix of residential properties in the City Centre. Throughout the planning process for the Caltongate development the urgent need for affordable and family housing was raised and ignored. More recently, during the consultation on the redevelopment brief for Argyle House and King Stables Road, the local community again raised the need for more affordable family housing and development to support the existing residential needs in the area, yet the focus still appears to be on commercial development and temporary accommodation (for students or visitors).

When is CEC Economic Development going to wake up to the changes happening elsewhere.
Many other councils have now recognised the value of communities developing public assets. Why sell them off in the hope that a sweet deal will encourage a speculative private development to start when the assets can meet an identified community needs simply by renting or transferring management of them to housing associations, community trusts and other third sector organisations?
Is it not about time Edinburgh caught up and started taking a more enlightened approach to economic development and allowed more resilient redevelopment plans to be considered.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Old Town Festival

SOOT is busy preparing our events for the Old Town Festival which starts on 14th June.
The full programme is now out and can be dowloaded from the Scottish Storytelling Centre website. Copies of the programme are also available in many of the venues and other community centres and libraries.

During the festival there will be lots of oportunities to find out more about some of the famous characters who have lived in the Old Town as well as finding out more about the residents who live there now.

SOOT will be presenting a community art exhibition which will include a mix of work by and about the characters who inhabit this precious place. There will also be opportunities to get involved in some art workshops and join with residents to celebrate the refurbishment of the Coinyie House Close Gardens.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Community Venture

The Canongate Venture has had a varied history. First built as a primary school, then changed to a school of building, then craft and small business space for affordable rent. Now it lies almost empty while the Council and Mountgrange's administrators scurry around looking for a new developer to demolish it. Its long overdue to relet this space for local crafts, makers and small and start up businesses. 
It can also provide much needed space for the community, space for community recycling, space for community organisations to meet, and the potential for a landscaped play area. 
There is lots of potential and it cannot be considered surplus to requirements any longer.

SOOT continues to call on Edinburgh Council to bring our building back into use

Come and play at Canongate Venture playground on Sunday 9th May from 2pm