by William Gray Muir of Sundial Properties

The Craighouse Partnership hopes to preserve the beauty and history of Craighouse by proposing a sympathetic and sustainable future for the site

With 7 grade-A listed buildings, spectacular views and beautiful grounds, Craighouse is a unique and historic site that is important to preserve for future generations.

However, many of the listed buildings have been empty since May 2011, and the landscape and woodlands have suffered over the years from institutional use, so a new and sustainable use for the site must be found.

Despite continued heating and regular inspections, the listed buildings at Craighouse are starting to show signs of significant deterioration.  Remedial work has already been undertaken at South Craig and Bevan to address outbreaks of wet and dry rot, but the longer these vulnerable buildings are left vacant, the more at risk they will become.

The woodlands are also suffering from neglect, with many old trees decaying and becoming unsafe, while younger trees are choked by non-native shrubs such as rhododendron and exotic laurels.

It is now too impractical and expensive for Craighouse to continue with institutional use.  An analysis independently reviewed by Edinburgh Council clearly demonstrates that development of the listed buildings alone is not viable.  To make re-use viable, new housing covering less than 4% of the site would be sufficient to:

  • Guarantee continued free public access to this private site;
  • Allow Easter Craiglockhart Hill to be gifted to public ownership;
  • Ensure a sensitive and sustainable re-use of the listed buildings, providing exceptional new homes for local people;
  • Allow dramatic improvement of the grounds for the benefit of all;
  • Ensure maintenance costs are borne by future residents alone;
  • Contribute over 50 new affordable housing units in South Edinburgh;
  • Make a significant contribution to local schooling provision.

The new housing is being designed to be of the highest quality and to sit comfortably within its historic environment.  It will be virtually invisible from outside the site.

Furthermore, the Craighouse Partnership recognises the importance of the grounds to the local community.  We are committed to retaining public access and our plans would not impact on local activities such as dog walking, watching the fireworks, children’s ball games and sledging.

The Craighouse Partnership has an excellent track record in preserving listed buildings and delivering exceptional developments.

In the past 15 years, Sundial, the lead development partner and listed building specialist, has completed the development of over 360,000 sq ft of category A and B listed buildings, including Leith Hospital and 48-56 North Castle Street.

Mountgrange Real-Estate Opportunity Fund (MoREOF) has a £300m blue-chip institutional real estate investment fund and is currently involved in such projects as the development of a 45,000 sq ft of listed buildings in Belgravia for residential use and a 200-bed hotel at Paddington Station.

Edinburgh can only protect what is best about the Craighouse site by looking forward.  We believe that a scheme that delivers on so many fronts is something local people will welcome.  A knee jerk rejection of development condemns Craighouse to a deeply uncertain future.

The Craighouse Partnership is committed to working in consultation with the public in taking forward our plans.  Craighouse Community Liaison Forum is independently chaired by Minister of Morningside Parish Church, Revd Dr Derek Browning.  We have a range of stakeholder groups attending the forum, with local Councillors and MSPs represented as well.

Our next round of public exhibitions takes place in Morningside today and tomorrow.  So are we ‘serious about creating a working reasonable development, working in proper consultation with the general public, and with a strong track record of success to make it work’?  We think so.

But don’t take our word for it.  Ignore the negativity of self-interested bloggers, come along to our public exhibitions, and decide for yourself.

The public exhibition dates and venues are:

Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road, Edinburgh EH10 4DP

  • Friday 30th March

2pm-8pm

Boroughmuir RFC, Meggetland Sports Pavillion, 60J Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH14 1AS

  • Saturday 31st March

10am-4pm

Old Craig, Craighouse Campus, Craighouse Road, Edinburgh EH10 5LG

For more information about the project, visit www.edinburghcraighouse.co.uk or contact eleanor.casson@invictapa.co.uk.

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