5,000 signatures reached
To: Scottish Ministers
NO CONFIDENCE in the City of Edinburgh Planning Department
With no community right of appeal to challenge the decision of the Council in granting approval to the highly controversial "Caltongate/ New Waverley" development, and in light of a growing number of other contentious 'developments' of national importance, which the Local Development Plan advances, the following petition is intended to:
Register an expression of NO CONFIDENCE in the City Planning Department
and appeal for:
All parties to put in place a clear and coherent development plan for the City which:
- Preserves its priceless heritage and Greenbelt
- Produces guidelines for sympathetic development
- Prevents unsympathetic development
- Prevents speculative development
- Provides affordable housing
Why is this important?
Given that the Scottish Government is currently undertaking a planning review, this petition is evidence of public disaffection and the need to ensure public faith in the planning process faithful to the spirit of the recently legislated Community Empowerment Bill which states:
“Scotland’s people are its greatest asset, and best placed to make decisions about their future... Our belief in local self- determination, through a strong Scottish Parliament, strong local authorities and strong communities, is the key principle... At its heart, community empowerment is about communities taking their own decisions about their futures”.
The exceptional natural landscape and outstanding World Heritage architecture of Edinburgh is cherished by locals and visitors alike, yet the City today faces the greatest assault on its heritage since the failed Abercrombie plan for massive city-centre redevelopment of the late 1940s.
Numerous large developments have taken place in recent years such as the Waterfront, Fountainbridge, Quartermile, South St Andrew Square, which have courted much criticism, most notably in the damning article “Scotland’s decaying capital city...” published Feb 2013 in Foreign Policy by Professor Richard Williams in which he stated, “Edinburgh has some of Europe's shoddiest attempts at urban regeneration”.
In spite of a stated commitment to “co-operation, fairness, accountability and responsibility” and a pledge that, “this is a Council that will listen to, and work with, local people.... there needs to be strong process for looking at the quality of how the Council has reached decisions so that there is genuine scrutiny and questioning of the actions it has taken", widespread disillusionment continues to undermine the credibility of the Council.
In the case of "Caltongate/ New Waverley" the Council showed flagrant disregard to the concerns of the local community and wider objectors, flouting local and national planning guidelines. The cumulative effect of controversial 'developments' is now putting the City's most prestigious accolade at risk, the World Heritage Status:
Rather than uphold their duty to the City and Her Citizens it is evident that elected representatives and officials are beholden and enthralled to an unsustainable, discredited system of speculation and endless economic growth, on a finite planet, showing favour to large private interests who appear to hold considerable sway over policy and decision making rather than reflect actual public need. Such a reality is an affront to democracy and does much to damage public faith, divide communities and undermine long term social well being.
Two hundred years ago the legacy of our ancestors was the New Town of Edinburgh. How will our descendants 200 years hence judge us?
“Think Global, Act Local" Patrick Geddes