Planners say scheme is 'detrimental' to city
£300m Granton Harbour plan likely to split council
A revised plan to build thousands of homes and a marina at Granton Harbour in Edinburgh is expected to divide councillors when it comes up for debate next week.
The £300 million project is the latest reworking of a long-running attempt by developers to turn a rundown part of coastline into a residential, commercial and leisure destination for the city’s seafaring enthusiasts.
It would include a hotel and a reworked marina allowing cruise ships to berth.
But in spite of major changes to previously rejected proposals the city council’s planners are recommending this latest masterplan is thrown out.
A major point of conflict is likely to be the developer’s desire to build a retail centre, grouping all commercial units together, and the council’s preference to spread them around the site which occupies 33 hectares of land to the north of West Harbour Road, Granton Square and Lower Granton Road.
Planners also object to the design and configuration of public spaces, roads and footpaths. In a 76-page report on the application from Jersey-based Granton Central Developments, it says: “The proposals are not based on a comprehensive and integrated approach which draws upon the positive characteristics of the site’s waterfront location to create a sense of place.
“The height, scale and form of the large centre will have a detrimental impact on the wider townscape, and the layout of car parking spaces and pedestrian/cycle routes in this part of the site will not encourage walking and cycling.”
A source close to the applicant told Daily Business: “My view is that the planning officers are misguided. There is a lot of support for this from local people who want to see the site developed.”
Several schemes have been submitted since June 2003 as the council demanded conditions that the developers have rejected because they claim they make the project uneconomic.
The first approved masterplan in 2009 was for 3,396 homes, reduced to 1,980 in 2014. The latest proposal is for 2,094 homes and an increase in affordable homes from the earlier agreed 15% to 27%.
Commercial space is grouped together but most retail units are just 250 sq metres, with the largest being 1,500 sq m. The application proposes 4,725 sq m of leisure floorspace. Commercial space/business units account for 5,000 sq m.
A marina could accommodate up to 400 berths and to the west of the marina would be a 128-bed hotel.
The applicant proposes increasing the number of car parking spaces across the entire site from 1,471 to 3,659, which includes a multi storey car park.
Council planners express concern at the development’s impact on other parts of the city, stating “that the size and form of centre proposed cannot be sustained by the anticipated local population and will potentially draw considerable car based trade from other centres.
“Based on the information provided, the proposal appears to be aimed at creating a shopping/leisure/commercial destination serving a much wider catchment than local residents.”
It adds that in an era when there is little growth in retail spending the jobs created would merely displace those that would be lost elsewhere.
The application will be considered by the development management sub-committee on Monday. A number of representatives of the applicants are expected to attend. Civil engineer Ove Arup and the architects Wilson Gunn are involved in the project which is being steered by Kevin Fawcett of Granton Central Developments.
Earlier this year, Mr Fawcett said the council had “little interest in regenerating Granton and is more interested in a monopolistic protection of other areas, including the city centre.”