Council and Scottish government cross swords over Edinburgh Marina scheme

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 30 September 2019

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UK: The City of Edinburgh Council is taking legal action over the Scottish Government’s decision to approve a masterplan extension at Edinburgh Marina.

The decision comes after ministers overturned three separate planning rejections from the local authority at the site where developer Edinburgh Marina Holdings is seeking to build a residential apartment building called The Moorings, and the Hyatt Regency Spa & Conference Hotel, which will feature 98 serviced apartments, local neighbourhood shopping and a medical centre

The developer had its proposals The Moorings rejected before submitting an appeal to the Scottish Government. Ministers then granted approval for the development, which will deliver one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

The government has also overturned another planning refusal for two other plots of the wider masterplan, including the Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel.

Now the council is taking the decision to the Court of Session in a final attempt to stop the development.

A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have commenced court action against the reporter’s decision. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

The application for The Moorings was refused planning permission by councillors in March due to fears the daylight of neighbouring properties would be impacted, the “quality of the space in the internal courtyard being heavily overshadowed” and a lack of green space for future residents.

But in his decision notice, Scottish Government reporter Andrew Flemming said there are “no material considerations which would still justify refusing to grant planning permission”.

He added: “I find that the layout, materials, design, height and density of the proposal are appropriate to the location… the proposed use of zinc cladding and larger windows on the upper floors and recessed vertical sections all contribute to a modern appearance, in keeping with the completed blocks. This helps to provide a sense of place which ties in with the council’s aspirations for the wider masterplan area and drawing on the positive characteristics of the area.”

Charles Price, a spokesman for Edinburgh Marina Holdings, said: “We are very surprised to hear of the City of Edinburgh Council’s decision to take the Scottish Government to Court over its recent approval to extend our masterplan consent. We have spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to work with Edinburgh Council to meet their needs. We believe, as does the Scottish Government in their findings, that this development meets the world-class standards that we have sought to achieve. Edinburgh Marina will be an iconic landmark for Scotland greatly enhancing the area which is currently a wasteland. In addition to several apartment blocks, the proposed development will provide luxury retirement living, the new 427-berth Edinburgh Marina, Hyatt Regency Spa and Conference hotel and serviced apartments and local neighbourhood shopping with a medical centre."

“Phase one of the development will create over 850 permanent new employment opportunities for the local community, together with one of the highest percentage of affordable homes. To be holding this up at this stage is a tragedy. Against this background, it seems very wrong that public money should now be spent to oppose the government’s decision. There will be no delay as a result of this application because we have now obtained detailed planning consent for all our schemes," he added.

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