Old Town Community Council believes it expedient that Section 65 of the Town & Country Planning Act (1997) Scotland, be enacted against the proposed India Buildings Hotel Development, Application 15/04445/FUL, thereby revoking planning permission.
We believe that elected Councillors would have refused planning consent for the proposed development had they been aware of the evidence presented in the Old Town Community Council assessment, obtained since the hearing through Freedom of Information requests, indicating the following :
No independent assessments were undertaken to verify the veracity of the developer’s data, as otherwise recommended by UNESCO advisers in response to “strong concern about the state of urban conservation in Edinburgh”.
No Environmental Impact Assessment was undertaken. This was at odds with requirements under European and Scottish Regulations for ‘sensitive areas’ in a Conservation Area, World Heritage Site. The lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment was particularly significant given that the proposed 225 bed hotel would undoubtedly introduce “implications in terms of road or pedestrian safety”, particularly in regards to the intended service access in the Cowgate, a narrow arterial road with a ‘canyon effect’, in an Air Quality Management Area in breach of regulations. This led to Council environmental officers recommending that Application 15/04445/FUL be refused.
A serious dereliction of Edinburgh Council in their duty of care towards the Central Library which reveals a clear conflict of interests with the disposal of significant public assets, in particular the Cowgate gap site otherwise long intended for the future development of the Library, sold on condition of planning consent without any public consultation to discuss alternative options.
Our conclusion is that the planning report was significantly flawed, presenting insufficient, misleading, contradictory information, indicating that Councillors were “significantly misled”.
It is evident that Application 15/04445/FUL is not an isolated case and having exposed a serious dereliction of duty of government agencies the Old Town Community Council believes a public enquiry is urgently required in order to establish faith in the process.
Old Town Community Council asks members of the public in Edinburgh, Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – wishing to revoke planning permission for the proposed India Buildings Hotel Development, Application 15/04445/FUL, to lobby their respective elected representatives with this motion to enact our Motion to enact Section 65 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 – India Buildings Application 15/04445/FUL