Tollcross Response to Fountainbridge Development Brief Draft

1. General Comments:

1.1 Traffic Considerations

There is concern about the considerable extra vehicular traffic which would be generated by new major developments in the area. A strategy should be put in place to protect streets which are already very busy and streets which are already used as ‘rat runs’.

1.2 Quality of Development
The quality of design and materials should be of the same standard of older established buildings within the area. It is felt that many of the recent developments in the area are not of this high standard. The developments will be there for a long time to come and need to weather well and be worthy of a world-class city.

1.3 Office Provision
The amount of proposed office provision causes concern about over provision in the area as there have already been many new office developments in the area recently. There are concerns about buildings unoccupied at weekends and in the evenings causing dead, unsupervised and perhaps unsafe areas within the developments, and concerns about increased traffic generation at peak times. This would all impact on the quality of life for both new and established residents in the area.

1.4 Community Involvement in the Planning Process
There are strong feelings within the area about the inappropriateness of some recent developments in the area. It is felt that there was only a token gesture made to include any community involvement in the process. To prevent this happening again, there must be continuing real consultation where the views of local residents and others who use the area are taken into account both before and after planning applications are made. We understand that planning applications will start to be made quite soon, yet only one consultation with Tollcross Community Council has so far taken place (for the Tartan Club site).

2. Response to Detailed points in the Draft:

Page 7:
4.8 ‘and to assist the risk of flooding’ - should this not read ‘and to prevent the risk of flooding’?

Pages 11-12:
5.6 Do we need more large floor plate office buildings? Is this not a contradiction of 3.5 (last sentence) on Page 3 in item no. 6 report no. PC/115/03-04/CD: ‘However, such proposals should come forward as part of mixed use schemes rather than creating mono-use “office zones”.’ Is it not also a contradiction of 5.7 ‘…to avoid large areas of mono-use…’.

Page 12:
5.9 Last sentence: ‘Proposals for large supermarket or retail warehouse developments are unlikely to (be) acceptable in terms of policy….’. We would wish this to read ‘Proposals for large supermarket or retail warehouse developments will not be acceptable in terms of policy…’.
Many of the existing shops in the area, particularly at Tollcross, are already empty and we do not wish to see any new developments destroying an already fragile local shopping environment. Many of the existing shops in the area which are successful are so because they provide small, specialist outlets and a unique shopping environment. They would be unlikely to survive competition with a large supermarket and a large supermarket would not bring a particular character to the area; it would be the same as any other supermarket in any other area of the city.

Page 13:
5.12 We would welcome a new Boroughmuir High School.

Page 17:
7.4 States ‘…a vibrant canal quarter…’. What is meant by vibrant? The canal is one of the few quiet, calm and contemplative places in this part of the city. This is one of its major attractions for local people, living as we do in a busy central area which it could be argued is already too vibrant. It is also one of its major attractions for visitors to the area. We would wish to retain this aspect of the canal in any new development. There is the danger of destroying what is valuable about it. This aim for vibrancy demonstrates a lack of understanding by the study’s authors of the qualities of this water resource. We would wish much more clarification of what the intentions here are.

Page 18:
7.5 Greater permeability should not produce any more areas with more conflict between late night activity and residential amenity and should not produce an environment more conducive to accessibility for crime to take place. There is already conflict between the noise and the crime related to late night activity and the needs of residential amenity.
Maximum visual permeability to the canal – see comments on 7.4 above. The fact that the canal is not visually present from many parts of the area is one of its attractions. It is like a quiet, hidden garden – please respect this quality. Why does everything have to be exposed? Contrasts, as Edinburgh already has, are some of the most interesting aspects of a city.

Figure 6a:
View 3 is not on map?
Figure 6b:
View 3 is from Lower Gilmore Place, not Upper Gilmore Place?

Tollcross Community Council
27 July 2004