It has been pointed out several times that the speculative scheme drafted by Mountgrange was not only environmentally unsustainable but not economically viable either, so why try to revive this hideous development by giving away public assets and common good land to developers when these assets are needed by the community?
The Mary Portas Report published yesterday highlighted the need to re energise our existing high streets and support small and new business and to reconnect places with community. The Council have themselves identified the pressing need to provide affordable workspace in our city, yet community led proposals for bringing Canongate Venture back to use have been dismissed without any discussion.
Since Mountgrange went into administration there has been many who have visited the site and who, from a 'professional' perspective acknowledge that the Caltongate plans were a well publicised fantasy which never had any real substance to them and actually have been the cause of severe blight to the area.
(A visit from The Academy of Urbanism in April 2010)
Despite the council embracing processes of 'community engagement' in planning, recent consultations with the community have demonstrated that the views of community and heritage groups do not matter and that there has been no real change.
To date the council have provided no real justification for selling off these valuable assets, the details of the land dealings were hidden behind the "commercial confidentiality" excuses for years until eventually exposed through FoI requests shortly before the Caltongate plans were deemed "toxic" by the banks.
Surely now is the time to invest in community assets not have them striped by developers for a quick profit.
Now is the time to reclaim the debts to the council incurred by Mountgranges actions (lost revenue for council flat rents, council tax arrears, repair and repainting to the gapsite hoardings) from the administrators.
Dinna sell The Old Town for the false promises of riches to come from yet another hotel development.