Craighouse Campus Scheme 3 Proposal

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Our aims state that we should:

  • preserve the Easter Craiglockhart Hill Local Nature Reserve for the enjoyment of members of the public with special provision for the disabled
  • conserve and enhance the wildlife value of the area and increase its biodiversity
  • develop and improve the area

We have analysed the latest Craighouse proposals from this perspective.

We are pleased that:

  • green space would increase as a result of the development
  • there would be a net gain of 670 in the number of trees on the site, that a Forestry Consultant would be appointed and that there would be consultation with the local Tree officer
  • substantial areas of land would be gifted to the Council to increase the area of the LNR
  • a ‘dowry’ payment of £150,000 would be made to allow improvements on this land
  • a ‘Community Park’ would be created with constitutional safeguards to ensure continued community access
  • the orchard would be improved
  • access through any of the existing entry points to the Craighouse campus would not be impeded and navigation across the site could be improved by the proposed network of paths on campus
  • attention has been given to the protection of wildlife and biodiversity could even be enhanced in the longer term (though there would be unavoidable adverse effects in the shorter term as a result of disturbance from building work)

We are concerned about:

  • the visual impact from many viewpoints of the high storey buildings ( ‘Burton’, ‘West Craig’and ‘Clouston’) on the fringes of the campus adjoining the land designated for transfer into the LNR
  • the removal of mature trees in or adjacent to this gifted land to enhance views from these newbuild properties
  • uncertainty over the timing of the land transfer and the payment of the ‘dowry’
  • lack of clarity concerning the precise boundaries of the gifted land
  • the adequacy of the ‘dowry’ payment given the need for substantial work to improve paths, repair walls and manage the woodlands. It does not appear that any allowance has been made for these costs in part of the gifted land – Woodland Areas 3 and 5
  • disturbance to active badger sets and the possibility that one may be destroyed by the proposed developments
  • planning ‘limbo’ which is already inhibiting improvement plans in the LNR and leading to a deterioration both in buildings and in the natural environment across the Craighouse campus

We have submitted these views to the planning process. We will continue to monitor what happens and will try to influence outcomes in accordance with our remit.