NEWS - Stop the demolitions
- Robin Hodge
- 18 October 2007
The battle to save Edinburgh’s Old Town from the vast Caltongate development is gathering momentum. The proposals to demolish listed buildings and tenements in order to build a five-star hotel, conference and office complex just off the Royal Mile have been opposed by heritage and community groups for many months. But the developers, Mountgrange, have mounted a huge PR campaign in an attempt to drown out the many objections and push through their plans.
The multi-million pound scheme sets out unashamedly to ‘change the entire dynamic’ of the city but tries to pretend that this is in ‘total harmony with the . . . history of Scotland’s capital’. The contradiction of that claim is exposed by Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association who have objected to the scheme.
The damage that would be caused to the life of the community has been highlighted by a growing campaign to Save Our Old Town led by local residents involving of public meetings and petitions. But there is concern about whether the objectors will get a fair hearing as the Edinburgh City planning leader Cllr Jim Lowrie was quoted in the Evening News as saying that ‘the problem in Edinburgh is the number of historic buildings and the need to address heritage concerns. We have to get big developments like Caltongate up and running as soon as we can’. Campaigners are objecting that this shows bias.