Monday, February 11, 2008

The Horror of Caltongate

On Wednesday 6th February Edinburgh Council finally showed its lack of imagination and that they really were just Tories. £300 million and our homes and heritage were flung out the window. If you have never been to Edinburgh before then advice you come. Location, Location voted it the best place in Britain to live and it was voted the 10th best city in the world to visit and that isn't just because I live there - though I add to the ambience.

I am from Edinburgh and my family (on my grandma's side) came here originally from Ireland (on her father's side) and on her mother's side we were tinkers/travellers/gypsies.

Edinburgh is a great place to live and I am lucky because I live in a council house there - one of the last. There are 9 council houses just down from me built by the great visionary Ebenezer Macrae, he was the City Architect in the 20s, 30s and 40s. My grandma and granda's house when I was born was a Macrae tenement in Morrison Street at Haymarket. We are city folks. Well the cooncil and the developers reckon that the tatty tenements are in the way of the biggest development of the Old Town since the 12th Century and they must go to create a fancy 5 star hotel and conference centre. They are also demolishing the Old Sailor's Ark and the Canongate Venture, old school and technical college. They have also sold of our "common good land" for a song, it doesn't belong to them it belongs to the people of Edinburgh.

The above picture is Ernie, he's nearly 80 - he is my neighbour who is to be evicted out of his house because it is in the way for a 5 star hotel. Ernie is the Old Town's old coal man when we all used coal fires. Lily is one of my neighbour's too - her mum Sally is one of the main campaigners.

The councillors were open that they could not turn down £300 million worth of development and if our neighbour's homes had to go then fair enough and if Edinburgh went on UNESCOs "At danger" risk of loosing its heritage it was a gamble worth taking. We are not against the area being developed - it is an old gas works/bus depot and old unused market buildings but not at the cost of perfectly good buildings that are in use. the development is nasty!!

So we will fight on and have to use the bourgeois courts, EU etc - off course the Scottish Ministers have to agree to it so it might not get past that hurdle. So watch this space or

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