Saturday, February 02, 2008

snow! & activism

Went out for brunch today as I was up early to take the cat for a check up. She is fine but not happy about the cat carrier and my slekit ways of getting her into it.

As I sat in the cafe I looked out on Broughton St and saw the snow coming down. Its been doing this over the past 3 days but not lying - we are too near the sea here.

I had to go to the post office to stock up on stamps - I'm about to settle down and write to all the councillors on the Edinburgh City Council Planning Committe. On Wednesday they meet to consider a plan to demolish a swathe of the High St of Edinburgh to replace the serviceable buildings with horrible modern offices, flats and a 5 star hotel in a World Heritage Site. Even Prince Charles has condemend this development. The planning department of Edinburgh Council has recommended this development but it will not necessarily be passed by the committee. They don't always go with the recommendations. PLEASE write to the concillors and ask them to vote against the proposals. You don't have to live in Edinburgh to do this - as this is a designated World Heritage Site anyone has a vested interest in these plans.

If you live in the UK please write letters to the concillors at City Chambers High St,Ediburgh. If further abroad then write emails but some councillors are known not to read emails so letters are better (hence stocking up on stamps today!)

People in Ediburgh have been fighting these proposals for 2 1/2 years please give them your support - the last round of proposals generated 1800 letters to the Head of Planning in Edinburgh. For more information go to

They are also looking for a civic minded Advocate to bring a legal case. If you know of one please get in touch with them!

WRITE/EMAIL YOUR Local or even all 58 AllCECcouncillorsemails
Find your councillors by your ward at this link

PLANNING COMMITTEE MEMBERS (Sld) Planning Committee Leader (Sld) (Caltongate is in his ward) (SLD) (SLD) (SLD) (SNP) (SNP) (SNP) (Labour) (Labour) (Labour) (Con) City Central (Caltongate in her ward) (Con) (Con) (Green)

Also write/email your Msp regional and List ones, you can find their details by this link You can find details of Mps and Meps here (Scottish ones are listed even although it doesn’t say on home page, you just enter your postcode and they will appear) Points that you can include in letter along with your own views on The Caltongate Proposals -
ask them to oppose the sale of Common Good Land – which could provide some of the community facilities deficient in the Old Town
ask for protection of the existing community and the World Heritage Site from insensitive and inappropriate development
ask what their commitment (or not) is to the Edinburgh Community Plan, which promotes a cleaner, greener Edinburgh
ask what is their commitment to World Heritage Management Plan
And WRITE to
Head of Planning Division,
Development Department,
Scottish Executive,
Victoria Quay
The Director of Historic Scotland,
Longmore House,
Salisbury Place, EH9 1SH
requesting refusal of the demolition of buildings in the World Heritage Site and Old Town Conservation Area as proposed in the Mountgrange Masterplan
requesting the masterplan be referred to the Scottish Executive as it involves a significant departure from the Development Plan and the Council have a financial interest in the proposed development.

Write a letter to John Swinney
Who is Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth
We all need to write to Scottish Government Minister John Swinney, as it will be him who will have the power to call in Mountgrange`s Planning Applications. We should all do this as soon as we can. It is on the 6th February 2008 that they are to go before the council in a special hearing. He should be made aware of the importance of calling in the applications.
Points you could include
· Many in Scotland feel that, under the previous administration, HS was "leant on" not to put the conservation case too strongly (i.e. to oppose demolitions of listed buildings) if that could stand in the way of economic development - such as the jobs and tourist boost promised by Mountgrange for example. Many believe a similar view was taken by the previous Edinburgh planning committee (especially the convenor, Trevor Davies).
· It is hoped that the Scottish Government can review this policy and strike a better balance between economic development and the conservation and celebration of Scotland's built heritage. It is therefore hoped that if the Caltongate applications are called in by the Government (as the City Council has a financial interest in the development, and has appeared to have mis-handled the application process) the Minister will not devolve the decision to HS but will take advice from a wider range of sources, and will listen to the well-argued opposition from heritage bodies, conservation experts and the local community.
· The development is of strategic, national and historic importance. A World Heritage site is a national responsibility - WH sites are submitted for designation to UNESCO by the national government of the country concerned, and UNESCO expects that government to take responsibility for the protection and care of designated sites.
It’s would mark a significant change in conservation planning policy and set a dangerous precedent
Write to
John Swinney MSP
St Andrew`s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

or email him marked for his attention to -

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