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May 7, 2008

Edinburgh’s Old Town under threat

The Canongate Community Forum is embarking on an ambitious 6 week programme of consultation and discussion which is open to anyone who lives, works or just loves this historic part of the nation’s capital. There are some major redevelopment plans in the offing for the Old Town and this initiative is designed to raise levels of awareness


The Canongate Project has been made possible through a grant from the Scottish Communities Action Research Fund SCARF and features an in-depth documentation of the area and its people; seminar’s and talks from a range of bodies and individuals, community based activities such as banner making and a film festival, culminating in a street party on Saturday 28th June. “During the 6 weeks the area in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town will have its life and people documented by the community along with activities everyone can get involved in.”

The Canongate Community Forum is proud to be presenting a packed programme of events and activities as part of the Canongate Project. Scotland’s internationally renowned arts impresario Richard Demarco began the programme with his talk “A Portrait of Edinburgh as a World Heritage Site” on Monday 5th May 2pm.

The Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, The Cockburn Association, Local People Leading, are among the conservation and community focused organisations giving talks and walks.

Land Reform expert Andy Wightman is one of the many gathering for the Common Good Day Scotland on Saturday May 24th.

All events are free; booking is advisable for all talks and walks, as places limited
The Canongate Community Forum is campaigning against plans to demolish listed buildings and people`s homes on the Canongate, the lower part of The Royal Mile in Edinburgh`s World Heritage site Caltongate is the name given to the controversial £300million project. It receives damning criticism from Heritage bodies, leading figures in the Conservation world and from individuals locally and worldwide. .

Architect Malcolm Fraser has designed the landmark building for Jeffrey St, as part of Caltongate, and the ubiqutous Allan Murray is also involved AllanMurrayHitsOutatCritics

Caltongate is to be built on the site of the former New Street Bus Station which London Developer Mountgrange own. But they also want to build on Council owned and Common Good Land. This would mean knocking down 18 homes, half of which are still council tenancies.

Historical buildings, 18 homes and 2 local businesses are earmarked for demolition.

Mountgrange said they would only buy the former Vegetable Market (Common Good), Victorian School and The Arches all on East Market Street if the Council approved their whole scheme at the Planning Committee Meeting on the 6th February 2008. This they duly did.

As this means the council has a financial interest in the project they cannot be seen to be impartial and the project will now progress to Scottish Ministers for a final decision.