Our forgotten Open Spaces

Posted on 30/08/2012 by


Following on from the letter that was sent in this week from local resident, Robert Pearson, we have decided to run an article about our Open Spaces. In Roberts letter he tells us a story of the derelict land sites in Muirhouse being overgrown with weeds, unsightly and not what you would expect to find in a City like Edinburgh. Unfortunately for Residents in North Edinburgh this appears to be an issue all across the Neighbourhood and not just focused on one area.

This is how the other looked after the first year. (Picture: Robert Pearson)

In Drylaw the grass that runs along the cycle path has been left to grow and now stands around three feet high and this has led to a rise in the amount of rubbish that is being dumped. Not only does it cause issues around fly tipping its also a hazard for Dogs who may be being walked in the area.

We contacted Local housing & Regeneration Manager Henry Coyle and he said ” In terms of the timeline for 21st Century Homes development, both the northern and southern areas of Pennywell and Muirhouse have Planning Permission in Principle in place, and further progress was made earlier this month, with the granting of further Planning Permission in Principle for the central area of Muirhouse (Muirhouse Avenue to Pennywell Gardens).

Now the same area is full of weeds and cant be used for anything. (Picture: Robert Pearson)

These Planning Permissions are based on masterplans that were developed following extensive consultation with the local community. While the wildflowers did take on fantastically well in the first year, this has not been quite as successful and certainly not as colourful in subsequent years.However, I agree that some general maintenance will improve the overall appearance and I have requested that this is carried out ASAP. I have also asked the Task Force to concentrate on the areas closet to the paths and footpaths, to ensure that the routes to school are as tidy as possible and to enable clearer passage for buggies and prams.

We are also currently engaging with the local community through the Centipede Project to develop a brownfield art project on the site to the west end of Muirhouse Avenue. To deliver this, we will enable a group of volunteer ‘guerrilla gardeners’ to take possession and carry out some bulb planting. This is due to take place in early September and I am confident that everyone will soon see a real improvement in the general appearance of the the area.

Many areas in Muirhouse now resemble this Image. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

In relation to maintaining the whole area during the ongoing regeneration programme, it was agreed through consultation with local groups that cleared sites would be planted as wildflower meadows until such time as development takes hold. The trip rails and wildflower planting have generally been very successful in deterring antisocial behaviour on these sites, such as fly tipping and setting bonfires.”

This is a claim that is refuted by local activist Grant Cunningham, Grant was the Chairperson of the Save Royston Primary School Group and today Grant is shocked about the condition of the School site. Grant said “The Royston primary site is fast becoming to rack and ruin and all this does is anger a community still hurting from a scandalous decision even further!. We hear lots of talk about the work of the local community Council working hard to improve the area but this is just evidence of another great asset stripped away and left to become an eyesore!.”


This was taken today at the Royston Primary School site. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

Local Councillor Vicki Redpath said “Unfortunately sites like Muirhouse have suffered in the time between demolition and regeneration. Local groups and residents were consulted it was decided that wild flower meadows would be created to make the brown field sites more pleasant in the lead up to construction and while they have been successful in deterring some anti-social behaviour such as fly tipping they are not looking at their best. We have spoken to the North Office and they have agreed that some immediate work is required to tidy up the area and this will be started this week.”

What are your views on our open spaces? Please tell us by commenting on this article. Next month we will be reviewing local Play Parks so please get in touch and tell us about the Play parks near you.