Caltongate site should be seeded by summer

Green Councillors in Edinburgh have today called for the dug-up site of the bankrupted Caltongate project to be turned into green space while the development is on hold

With much of the city centre enduring road and building works, this proposal would create a new temporary greenspace for the benefit of residents and visitors to Edinburgh.

Councillor Steve Burgess, environment spokesperson for the Green Group on City of Edinburgh Council, has written to Cllr. Tom Buchanan, Convenor of economic development to ask him to consider the proposal. A similar scheme to green derelict sites in Glasgow won council backing in November.

Green Councillor Steve Burgess said:

With more gap sites appearing in our cities as a result of the economic situation, perhaps with little prospect of being developed at least in the short to medium term, it would be good to see sites, such as Caltongate, used on a temporary basis by community and visitors rather than being a blight on the urban landscape.

To roughly landscape and seed an area with grass and perhaps wildflowers and provide a few benches could well be less costly for the landowner than providing security and maintaining a perimeter hoarding. It could also improve relationships with the local people.

The view of the Caltongate site from Regent Road is extremely unattractive and spoils a wonderful cityscape. Wild plants have already begun to grow there, so what would be needed is to accelerate this process by deliberately seeding the area.

There are lots of possibilities, the local Royal Mile primary school could use part of the area for educational purposes and the wall presently daubed with graffiti turned into an attractive mural that can be seen from Calton Hill.

I’m hopeful that the Council Administration and Councillors from other parties will back this idea.