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Old February 13th, 2014, 01:28 AM   #1
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Edinburgh Civic & Community | News & Developments

Architect says plans ‘despoil’ poetry library

The Scotsman - 13th February, 2014



Quote:
The creator of the Scottish Poetry Library’s home in Edinburgh’s Old Town fears it will end up looking like “a corner shop” if extension plans go ahead.

Architect Malcolm Fraser has accused library bosses of agreeing plans which will “despoil” his original vision.

Despite being asked to oversee an overhaul of the building, Mr Fraser’s plans were rejected as unworkable for the modern-day demands of the library, which has seen its collection double to almost 50,000 items, and another firm was handed the task.

The architect and the library – which is due to close for three months in the spring for building work – are now embroiled in a war of words, with Mr Fraser claiming he was “dismissed” from the project, while the library insists he resigned.

Robyn Marsack, director of the library, said the changes were needed to address long-standing problems with the design. Plans include the removal of a set of stairs leading to a stone lectern, built for outdoor readings but used for only ten days of the year on average.

She said the flight of stairs was “a health and safety hazard”, saying she had been left “black and blue” after falling down it and adding that they also proved a magnet for rough sleepers.

Mr Fraser said he had written formal letters of protest to both the library and Creative Scotland, which is funding the revamp to the tune of £100,000.

He told The Scotsman: “I drew a proposal that radically re-organised the interior of the building, gaining a much more welcoming and flexible central space, a large new meeting room and gallery and space for a whopping 80 per cent more books. This met and greatly exceeded what their brief asked for, so imagine my bewilderment when the board’s chair dismissed me, and went out and interviewed for new architects.”

Mr Fraser said he was particularly upset about the “banality” of the new plans, drawn up by Broughty Ferry-based architects Nicoll Russell Studios.

He added: “It is fine for a corner shop but not nearly good enough for a significant cultural institution in the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.”

The library has won the backing of Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead, who said the external stair was “a nice idea aesthetically”, but had simply led to people climbing up to find a locked door. She added: “A careful perusal of the new plans certainly convince an enthusiastic amateur like me that they… will work superbly for the users of the building.”

Nicoll Russell Studios declined to comment.
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Old February 14th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #2
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I'm told that, as a new user, I can't post images. Mibbe others might? But here's my letter of objection:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I object to these proposals.

First, I should say that I am the architect of the original building. I note the success of the Poetry Library and its need to expand, and fully support the right of an organisation to plan this, and the concordant need for buildings to evolve. However that should not be an invitation to damage buildings or the built environment in general and on this basis I object to this Application, on the following grounds:

. The Privatisation of the Old Town’s Urban Realm: the Courtyard and Reading Area was reserved, under the Holyrood North Site Masterplan, as part of the public realm. The proposals, essentially, privatise this area.

. The Loss of Original Features: the destruction of the Forestair and Courtyard Reading Area.

. Severe Damage to the Original, Complete Design: the building was conceived as a contemporary re-interpretation of the mediaeval buildings of the Old Town, which met their sloping sites with vigour and imagination. The Reading Area and Forestair do exactly that, settling-in to the steep Close elegantly. The proposal’s perspective, from up the Close, seriously misrepresents this slope, flattening it out by up to 20 brick courses (well over one metre); but still demonstrates the extreme awkwardness of the proposal’s relationship with its steep site.

. The Loss of a Work of Art: Mary Bourne’s “Carpet of Leaves” sits at the door and is a place-specific work, mediating between the landscape (the distant view of the crags) and the building. The proposal assumes its removal or, at least, it being stripped of meaning.

. That the Library’s Brief can be Entirely Met Within the Existing Building: as the proposals I have drawn for them have demonstrated.

In Conclusion: this proposal severely, and unnecessarily, damages a much-loved and highly-regarded work of architecture, that is of integral significance to the World Heritage Site.


Malcolm Fraser
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Old February 15th, 2014, 01:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Fraser View Post
I'm told that, as a new user, I can't post images. Mibbe others might? But here's my letter of objection:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I object to these proposals.

First, I should say that I am the architect of the original building. I note the success of the Poetry Library and its need to expand, and fully support the right of an organisation to plan this, and the concordant need for buildings to evolve. However that should not be an invitation to damage buildings or the built environment in general and on this basis I object to this Application, on the following grounds:

. The Privatisation of the Old Town’s Urban Realm: the Courtyard and Reading Area was reserved, under the Holyrood North Site Masterplan, as part of the public realm. The proposals, essentially, privatise this area.

. The Loss of Original Features: the destruction of the Forestair and Courtyard Reading Area.

. Severe Damage to the Original, Complete Design: the building was conceived as a contemporary re-interpretation of the mediaeval buildings of the Old Town, which met their sloping sites with vigour and imagination. The Reading Area and Forestair do exactly that, settling-in to the steep Close elegantly. The proposal’s perspective, from up the Close, seriously misrepresents this slope, flattening it out by up to 20 brick courses (well over one metre); but still demonstrates the extreme awkwardness of the proposal’s relationship with its steep site.

. The Loss of a Work of Art: Mary Bourne’s “Carpet of Leaves” sits at the door and is a place-specific work, mediating between the landscape (the distant view of the crags) and the building. The proposal assumes its removal or, at least, it being stripped of meaning.

. That the Library’s Brief can be Entirely Met Within the Existing Building: as the proposals I have drawn for them have demonstrated.

In Conclusion: this proposal severely, and unnecessarily, damages a much-loved and highly-regarded work of architecture, that is of integral significance to the World Heritage Site.


Malcolm Fraser
A couple of visuals from Urban Realm of the existing Scottish Poetry Library designed by Malcolm Fraser and the Nicoll Russell Studios proposed redesign.







Planning app: 13/05220/FUL | Proposed alterations and extension - extension to ground floor, formation of refuse store on south elevation, escape stair formed from mezzanine floor to ground floor on north elevation and alterations to facade on north, south and west elevations. | 5 Crichton's Close Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Personally, I feel this new expansion would only detract from the design of what is one of the best bits of contemporary architecture in the Old Town. I'm not sure if they are still accepting public comments on the application but if they are then if anyone feels the same they should follow the link above to the planning portal and make their feelings known.

It's clearly a complex and messy situation but kudos to Malcolm Fraser for coming on here to put his side of the situation across. Hope we might see you on here again under better circumstances.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #4
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Edinburgh Civic & Community | News & Developments

Graham brought on board to fix National Library of Scotland defects

Urban Realm - 26th February, 2014



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The National Library of Scotland has appointed Graham Construction to undertake a £10m reclad and redevelopment of its Causewayside Building

The 19,000sq/m building, delivered in two phases in 1989 and 1995, has been hit by ‘widespread’ air and water leakage and now requires a replacement roof, rain screen cladding, glazing, stonework and water discharge systems.

When inviting tenders the library blamed these problems on deteriorating materials, poor workmanship and complexity of design.’

Though not listed Andrew Merrylees Associates (later merged with Hypostyle) won the Royal Scottish Academy‘s 1982 gold medal for architecture with their design.

Graham expects to move on site this June for completion in 2017.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 02:10 PM   #5
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Grassmarket Community Project claims Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place Award

Urban Realm - 28th March, 2014



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Grassmarket Community Project, a centre for Edinburgh's dispossessed, has been named sole winner in the Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place Awards - after being nominated by the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland.

Designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects the scheme won over judges who were impressed by both the positive impact the work is having on the local community as well as the heritage and architectural benefits brought.

In their citation the judges dubbed the project: “a high class facility for its members and wider Edinburgh community”, adding: “It is a people led project which radiates warmth, humanity and a sense of equality. It is innovative, full of natural light, and has been woven seamlessly into the fabric of the adjoining buildings, streetscape and Greyfriars Churchyard.

“Both designers and client deserve wide recognition for this jewel of a project which enhances and uplifts Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. It is a worthy winner.”

Grassmarket Community Project cost £1.4m to build and provides support to over 300 people from a range of different backgrounds.






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Old April 23rd, 2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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Crunch time in bid to make farmhouse community hub

Edinburgh Evening News - 23rd April, 2014



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MEMBERS of a community group which wants to take over and transform a run-down farmhouse into a gleaming community hub are anxiously waiting to hear if their plan has the green light.

Bridgend Inspiring Growth (BIG) has been developing plans for the renovation of Bridgend Farmhouse, in Old Dalkeith Road, for four years.

It has attracted support from the Big Lottery Fund’s growing community assets programme for its vision for a new community centre.

But the future of the site is in the city council’s hands – and next week is crunch time as members of the economy committee will vote on whether to sell the building to BIG or the highest private bidder. Several confidential bids have been put in since the property went on the market earlier this year.

“We want to save this historic farmhouse and turn it into a community-run centre for learning, eating and exercise,” said BIG chairman Will Golding. “Community ownership can give enormous opportunities for local communities to take control of assets, and create new, innovative and relevant services.”

If BIG is successful, the team hopes to secure funding to restore the farmhouse into a vibrant community hub which will encourage people to make use of nearby Craigmillar Castle Park.

It is hoped that the venue would provide a valuable new facility for local residents including children and teenagers. A kitchen and cafe would also be created at the venue to allow for a variety of events to be held there. Mr Golding said he hoped the venture could be a “pioneering example” of how the new Community Empowerment Bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, would work.

The site’s allotments are already a popular resource, and BIG is keen to build on Bridgend’s enviromentally-friendly ethic. Chris Macefield, who runs food and health courses at the allotments, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop a community meeting place and find fun and nurturing ways that people can connect with the surrounding green space.”

To sign the online petition in support of the project, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/bridgend-farmhouse-to-be-community-owned.


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Old April 24th, 2014, 12:42 PM   #7
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Edinburgh Civic & Community | News & Developments

City of Edinburgh Methodist Church nears completion

Page\Park Architects - 10th January, 2014



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The Methodist Church building on Nicolson Square has until recently been one of four Methodist churches in Edinburgh. In 2009 the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church (CEMC) commissioned a study of their existing assets with a view to rationalising and creating new accommodation to serve one single congregation, either by reconfiguring an existing church or development of a new building which would reflect the 21st century needs of the Methodist Church. Nicolson Square was recommended as the locus for CEMC as it is located in the heart of Edinburgh Old Town and carries its own Category 'A' listing. The recommendation was subsequently accepted and Nicolson Square was set to become the new home for CEMC.

As a result, new demands were placed upon the building, since the congregations of a number of Methodist churches in the city now meet together jointly. The result is our £2.5m refurbishment and extension project which links the previously separated Church and Epworth Halls as a single amenity. The buildings are at split levels and are joined in the rear courtyard at the pivot point between the two premises by a glazed lift and small conservatory. A new mezzanine is inserted within the Epworth Halls, creating a common top floor level between buildings. In the church, an enlarged entrance vestibule and new half staircase provides pedestrian and visual connection between buildings. A series of new display spaces are also defined by vertical planes in the sanctuary gallery.

The second phase works are expected to open to the public in January 2014.
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Old April 25th, 2014, 01:09 AM   #8
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Another image (from Urban Realm) of Malcolm Fraser Architects' proposed Bridgend Farmhouse community centre, which would see a full restoration of the historic farmhouse at Cameron Toll, providing flexible accommodation for social enterprises, a new courtyard, workshops and allotments.

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Old April 29th, 2014, 03:59 PM   #9
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A new look for the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection

Edinburgh City Libraries - 29th April, 2014

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This is the new look Edinburgh and Scottish Collection in Central Library which opened this morning. The level above will be home to the new Music library, which opens on 15th May.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 05:31 PM   #10
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13/04507/FUL | Redevelopment of existing riding centre including new indoor arena and public facilities with relocated stables and associated support facilities. | Ravelrig Riding For Disabled 21 Ravelrig Gait Edinburgh EH14 7NH



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Old May 28th, 2014, 01:09 AM   #11
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£1.7m riding school plan for disabled

Edinburgh Evening News - 27th May, 2014

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Hundreds of disabled people are to benefit from a £1.7 million indoor riding school.

The development is set to go ahead after Ravelrig Riding for Disabled (Ravelrig RDA) secured planning permission to build the complex.

The school, in Balerno, has a long waiting list which has had to be closed because of the demand for the facilities, while bad weather can see the outdoor arena closed for up to three months each year.

The new arena, which will include 12 stables, an indoor viewing area for family, function rooms and improved parking for visitors, will dramatically improve the experience of the group’s 120 riders, who will also be able to learn vaulting for the first time.

Work is expected to start in 2015, with completion later that year. The work will also benefit existing schools which use the centre, as well as other special schools, children’s hospitals and forces rehabilitation organisations which have expressed interest in using the facilities.

Ravelrig RDA organiser Barbara Johnstone said: “In recent years, very heavy snow stopped lessons for three months, and more recently, rain and strong winds have meant riding sessions being cancelled, leaving riders, families and *volunteers all disappointed. Many of the riders have multiple needs, with *physical impairments and learning *difficulties being particularly common.

“Families are extremely stressed and the disappointment of having a session cancelled can be a breaking point. This means we will be able to extend the huge benefits of riding for the disabled to a far greater number of people, in state-of-the-art facilities.”

The benefits of therapeutic riding have often been hailed as “life changing”. The physical benefits can be felt with every step the horse takes, as these help to flex the rider’s muscles. Riding can also be calming and help with issues such as confidence and self-esteem.

One Ravelrig parent, Caroline Barclay, became involved with the project when her son was ten and said riding has dramatically changed his life.

She explained: “He was asthmatic, had poor muscle tone and wore splints, didn’t speak, found it difficult to concentrate and had terrible tantrums.

“Everything changed when he started to spend time with horses. His asthma improved, he sat up straight, began to manage without splints and found his balance.

“His confidence and speech improved enormously and for the first time in his life, he was able to feel part of a community, part of the world.”

Alys Watson, a retired physiotherapist and former regional physiotherapist for the south of Scotland, said a pony could be used as a “therapeutic tool” for children.

“With children who had no sitting balance you would use the horse and the movement of it to disturb their balance so they can learn to regain it again,” she explained.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 03:14 PM   #12
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Rockstar North chief buys St Stephen’s Church

Edinburgh Evening News - 27th June, 2014



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He is the Godfather of Gaming behind a billion-pound franchise that has swept the globe.

Now a 43-year-old computer game tycoon is using his vast wealth to preserve one of the most iconic landmarks in Edinburgh.

Stockbridge stalwart Lesley Benzies is poised to snap up St Stephen’s Church – the A-listed building half a mile from his home – in a deal thought to be well in excess of £500,000.

Mr Benzies is president of Rockstar North, the firm behind the world’s most successful entertainment series Grand Theft Auto which has sold more than 150 million copies.

Described as “an entirely philantrophic purchase”, the gaming magnate has pledged to preserve St Stephen’s with new investment and retain it for community use.

Philip Johnston, a spokesman for the Rockstar North boss, said Mr Benzies had lived in Stockbridge for more than a decade and recognised the building’s “importance to the community”.

The deal would preserve St Stephen’s “for years to come” and “ensure the long-term viability of the property as a community centre that benefits all”.

A charitable trust has been founded to manage the community centre and a board of trustees will include representatives from the local community

Mr Johnston added: “Stockbridge is a busy residential area with a relatively small number of community venues.

“The preservation of St Stephen’s church as a community centre meets a pressing need as well as protecting an important historical building.

“We are delighted that we can help bring the church back to its former glory securing its future whilst providing a renovated local and performing arts centre that will benefit the wider community.” Designed by “Athens of the North” architect William Henry Playfair, St Stephen’s Church has been hailed as one of the most important Georgian buildings in the New Town.

The building, which includes a 160ft tower, the longest 
clock pendulum in Europe and a terrace boasting spectacular views across the Lothians 
and Fife, is divided into 
three levels, including an 800-capacity venue suitable for live music, dance and theatre. It has been effectively been run as a local community centre for the past two decades, but its use has declined in recent years.

It is thought the vow to retain the building for community use will cheer campaign group St Stephen’s Playfair Trust which previously unveiled plans for a long-term refurbishment and restoration of the building.

In February, it emerged a mystery arts impresario was interested in purchasing the building and trumped a bid by St Stephen’s Playfair Trust to purchase the building.

His undisclosed offer won through after more than 50 potential buyers expressed an interest in the building – some of whom were keen to turn it into private flats or a bar-
restaurant complex.

Dating back to the 1820s, the church has recently been a popular Fringe festival venue in the summer but Mr Benzies’ team has not revealed whether it will be used for any performances this year.

Mr Johnston, said: “My client looks forward to completing the sale imminently to secure the plans for the church’s ongoing use.

“We will engage with the community as the plans progress and look forward to welcoming local residents and groups back to the centre in the very near future.”
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Old June 27th, 2014, 08:39 PM   #13
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Good on him. Maybe a bit shameful that no other local charity thought it a worthwhile investment, but pretty cool that it's been retained for the community by a local.
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Old July 24th, 2014, 05:11 PM   #14
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Redevelopment of Southside Community Centre approved.



14/00772/LBC | Alterations to open up the forecourt area, including widening of the front gates, replacement of the existing timber main door with glazed sliding doors, and addition of free-standing banner masts. | 117 Nicolson Street Edinburgh EH8 9ER





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Old August 14th, 2014, 09:50 AM   #15
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Multi-faith cemetery gets go-ahead in Edinburgh

The Scotsman - 14th August, 2014

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Scotland's first dedicated multi-faith cemetery and crematorium looks set to be built in the east of Edinburgh.

Modelled on Stockholm’s world heritage-listed Woodland cemetery, the developer behind the scheme, Baywater, said it is aiming to make it the best in Britain.

The facility is to be built at Edmonstone Estate, near Danderhall, and has received the backing of city councillors who believe it offers a way of maintaining green space in the Capital.

Baywater’s vision for the 64-acre site is for a cemetery, crematorium, memorial garden and chapel of rest on land which has been destabilised by more than 200 mine shafts and is currently sealed off because of safety fears.

It is estimated that 1,300 cremations and 700 burials will take place each year, with a view to meeting the future needs of the Lothians and wider region.

Rival developer Sheratan Ltd had hoped to build housing on the site and had stated it would be willing to spend more than £10 million shoring it up. It is understood that Baywater will have to pay significantly less than this.

At yesterday’s meeting of the city council’s development sub-committee, councillors voted that the site be used for the cemetery plans.

A spokesman for Baywater said: “We are clearly delighted by the decision, helping to address a regional requirement for these much-needed facilities.

“This development will also serve to enhance the area and provide a prestigious resting place in a beautiful landscape for people of all faith.”

Those behind the scheme claim to be inspired by the Stockholm Woodland cemetery, which was designed by architect Gunnar Asplund and is the final resting place of actress Greta Garbo.

Built in 1917 following an international competition won by Asplund and his partner, Sigurd Lewerentz, the cemetery – which stands on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees – was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994 and has since become a major tourist attraction. The layout of the Edmonstone cemetery is to be based on the form of the historic estate as it was in the 1850s, thus preserving the mature park and trees.

Buildings will be located within the woodland while different parts of the site will include burial plots, lawn crypts and memorial trees.

ouncillor Adam McVey, vice-convener for the environment, said: “This development offers a chance to protect this site as a green and open space. If the cemetery which has been granted permission is built, the threat is eradicated of other developments, such as housing, which are incompatible with this green-belt estate.

“The new cemetery will also provide additional choice for Edinburgh residents who opt for burial and the new crematorium will allow Edinburgh to meet the increased demand the city will continue to experience in the decades to come.”

The former estate of Edmonstone lies between the new Royal Infirmary at Little France and the village of Danderhall to the east. The mansion was demolished in the 1950s, with only ruins of the adjoining stable block now remaining.

While airing concerns over air pollution and congestion, locals have been generally supportive of the cemetery plans – stating that they were preferable to a housing development.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 03:07 PM   #16
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Major £5.2m revamp for ageing city nurseries

Edinburgh Evening News - 5th September, 2014



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Four ageing nurseries are to be rebuilt as state-of-the-art learning centres in a £5.2 million upgrade.

Nurseries at Longstone, Corstorphine and Davidson’s Mains primaries, and Granton Early Years, will be completely replaced, while an already approved new facility at 
St John’s RC Primary is set for further expansion.

The revamp – funded thanks to a £7.5m cash boost from the Scottish Government – will help ensure the city meets a national pledge to boost free annual nursery provision for all three and four-year-olds from 475 to 600 hours.

Plans for larger buildings mean around 140 morning and afternoon places will be created once the new nurseries are open, with an additional 50 spots provided for two-year-olds.

Education bosses said the proposed works were part of a city-wide commitment to the very best early years childcare, adding that efforts were under way to locate opportunities for future upgrades in high demand areas such as Gorgie and Stenhouse.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “There are a number of nurseries across the school estate that are being provided in temporary accommodation.

“We have the opportunity here to make substantial improvements in our early years estate, with early years a real priority at this moment in time.

“It’s absolutely right that we focus on early years to ensure that there’s a good learning environment for every child in a nursery class.”

Among the most ambitious projects is proposed construction work at Granton Early Years centre, where a brand new nursery will offer 80 morning and afternoon spots.

The nursery at Davidson’s Mains Primary School is also in line for major expansion, with replacement facilities providing 40 extra places, as well as space for 15 two-year-olds.

Carole Fisher, outgoing parent council chair at Duddingston Primary, where dilapidated nursery rooms are set to be replaced under existing plans, said: “It’s very positive – parents are normally being told about budget cuts and schools closing. The council needs to realise it has to invest in kids’ education and get a better outcome for them.”

Scottish Government ministers said proposals for new nurseries were proof of their determination to provide learning and childcare matching the best in Europe.

A spokesman said: “We have been working closely with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local authorities to expand annual funded provision for three and four-year-olds to almost 16 hours a week and to extend this to the most disadvantaged two-year-olds over the next two years.”
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Old September 9th, 2014, 03:51 PM   #17
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Wing of historic building to become play centre

Edinburgh Evening News - 9th September, 2014



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A disused wing of a historic building which dates back to the early 17th century is being transformed into a children’s play centre.

The Inch Community Centre is used by scores of youngsters, but equipment has to be unpacked and repacked before and after each session.

But under new plans a permanent soft-play area will be installed, alongside a teen-friendly section with pool tables and sofas along with free wi-fi.

A garden will also be cultivated so children can play outside.

Bosses and volunteers are now aiming to raise nearly £200,000 to revamp the vacant wing of the A-listed Inch House.

Dr Margaret Collingwood, a member of the management committee and chair of the Greater Liberton Heritage Project, believes an upgraded centre will become a real asset in the community.

She said: “It’s going to put life back into the building. We have a beautiful building, but it lacks purpose at the moment, so we are going to make it useful and create better facilities for the children.

“At the moment, the staff have to keep bringing all the toys from the store, a situation which will be improved when we get this new facility.”

Dr Collingwood said the revamp would take around three months after the cash is raised and would see the centre offer childcare to parents in the area.

She said: “For some of the parents who use the centre, there’s no-one to look after the children, but if we had better facilities we would be able to increase our free crèche.

“The teenagers in Inch have very few places to go, so hopefully if we get them to use it we can give them more direction because the levels of deprivation in Inch are high.”

The two storey-structure dates back to 1634 when it was built by James Winram, the Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, before being taken over by his son George Winram, who died fighting Oliver Cromwell in 1650.

The property was seized by Cromwell and passed to the Gilmour family in 1660. They remained owners until the estate was sold to Edinburgh in 1945 where it was used as a school until the 1970s.

Dr Collingwood added. “The wing was staff accommodation when the Gilmours had the house and then it was a teenagers’ club in the 1970s, but it has been unused since then.”

A host of successful fundraisers have collected around £80,000 towards the project, with a fashion show featuring Sainsbury’s latest clothing range taking place at Cameron Toll Shopping Centre on Friday.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray will act as compere at the event after giving his backing to the campaign.

Labour member Mr Murray said: “The new children’s wing will be a fantastic addition to the centre and will give local young people space to relax and have fun.

“I’ll be sure to pass on all the latest fashion trends and tips to my colleagues in 
parliament.”

Sainsbury’s clothing manager Alan Crosby said: “We’re really looking forward to supporting the Inch Community Centre with their fashion show.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with them, they’re right on our doorstep and do fantastic work in the local community.”
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Old November 13th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #18
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New £750,000 community hub planned for Newcraighall

STV Edinburgh - 13th November, 2014

Quote:
An independent church has submitted plans to open a community cafe, hall and soft play area.


The proposals include transforming the GL Floors showroom, warehouse and workshop on Whitehall Street into a community hub.

Wellsprings, which operates a small independent church in Newcraighall next to the proposed community hub, has lodged plans with Edinburgh City Council.

Church owner and founder of the project David Hewitt said the centre would feature an arts cafe, soft play, a hall and small commercial unit.

"The project value is in the region of £750,000 and we are seeking funding from various sources," David said.

"We aim to start work in spring 2015 and it will take around nine months to one year for completion.

“I think we would be looking at opening in early 2016.”

David said the area lacked a community meeting place for people of all ages.

“It was through working with the local community for seven years, we have seen there was a big need for community facilities in the area," he said.

“A lot of the youth here seem at quite a loss. We saw the need for somewhere for young families and creating a meeting point with a local cafe.

“We felt that we could add more to the community.”

“We wanted to provide a community hub with both an arts cafe and soft play unit in a large old warehouse that became available next door," David said.

“The space would host after school classes, community groups, produce markets, Zumba classes and work as a meeting point for the elderly.

"It could host a whole range of community events.”
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Old February 5th, 2015, 09:11 PM   #19
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Application submitted for a new Broomhouse community centre.

15/00321/FUL | Demolition of existing single storey community centre and erection of new single storey community centre on the same site. New building will include main hall, cafe, commercial kitchen, small gym, small soft play, small shop, meeting rooms, administration spaces, WCs, storage and plant area. | 79 - 89 Broomhouse Crescent Edinburgh EH11 3RH

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Old March 19th, 2015, 07:01 PM   #20
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Council must 'set example' by halting demolition of listed community centre

STV Edinburgh - 19th March, 2015



Quote:
Heritage groups have backed a campaign to stop the demolition of a listed Leith community centre.

The Cockburn Association and The Architectural Society of Scotland (AHSS) have both lodged objections to council demolition plans arguing that the Duncan Place Resource Centre, built in the 1920s, forms an "integral part" of the category C listed Leith Primary School.

The centre was suddenly closed over health and safety concerns in September 2014, following decades of underinvestment in the building. It was a move which forced nearly 50 different local groups to seek alternative accommodation at short notice.

Councillors then backed proposals to demolish the building after being presented with a £3.48m repair bill for the building. However, the report provided to councillors made no mention about the listed status of the building, nor of the costs associated with replacing the facility.

Since the centre was closed, a petition to halt the demolition has garnered more than 1000 signatures from supporters of the Save Duncan Place Resource Centre campaign.

A Historic Scotland official told STV that the “building is considered listed as part of the curtilage of the listed building" and confirmed that Historic Scotland will determine any application made by the council on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

When asked to comment on the progress following the proposal to demolish the building, a council spokesperson said: “The council is currently considering an application for listed buildings consent to demolish a building adjacent to the school.”

Marion Williams, director of heritage watchdog The Cockburn Association, says the building is an integral part of the educational buildings in the area.

In the group's objection, they stated: “We strongly oppose the demolition of this listed building within Leith Conservation Area.

“The former gymnasium, opened in 1920, was designed by George Craig - the same architect responsible for the adjacent Leith Primary School.

“As a result the building is an integral part of the conglomeration of educational buildings in this area, both historically and aesthetically.

“There is also a significant plaque on the south façade documenting the names of those who contributed to the building’s formation.

“Council policy on listed buildings states ‘There is a strong presumption against demolition of listed buildings’.

“We would urge City of Edinburgh Council to adhere to this policy. This building has much potential to be converted to new uses, there are architectural solutions to any problems associated with the site.

“Removing it would erase an important symbol of educational aspiration from Leith’s industrial past, and diminish what is a currently harmonious streetscape.”

An official review released this month into the maintenance of Duncan Place over 15 years concluded that the council had been aware of the poor condition of the building since 1990 and that “a programme of planned maintenance could have avoided the initial deterioration of the building which led to such large investment being required.”

The AHSS has also objected to the proposal to demolish the Leith community centre.

Speaking to STV, Tom Parnell, cases panel convenor for AHSS, said: "There was confusion over whether or not the building was listed. We certainly agree that the planning department has come up with the correct interpretation of law that it is indeed a listed building.

"We felt the argument for demolition really hadn't been made. There are quite strict tests that should be followed before you can demolish a listed building and we felt that none of these really had been met.

"It is a building that is well loved and well used by the local community. That's all part of why the Architectural Society of Scotland campaigns - to look after our built environment.

"The City of Edinburgh Council, as a major building owner, should be setting an example to the city about how you look after listed buildings.

"It will have to go to Historic Scotland because it is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council so it will be interesting to see what Historic Scotland's thoughts are on the application."

Jane McMahon from the Save Duncan Place Resource Centre says the community group is “absolutely delighted” by the level of support to save Duncan Place and the backing of these heritage groups.

“Surely the council will have to stand up and take notice in the face of such a strong message from the community backed by The Cockburn Association and AHSS,” Jane said.

“Serious questions need to be asked of the council about the neglect of Duncan Place, the true costs of repair versus a new build and the impact the demolition will have on so many communities in Leith and beyond.

“Surveys over the years identified work needed that was ignored by council officers. This neglect should not be rewarded with permission to demolish a listed building.

“We aim to save Duncan Place, a unique and much loved community facility and hope to overturn what we believe to be a misguided decision.”
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