The New Town & Broughton Community Council along with representatives from the Friends of King George V Park & others have been engaged with Turley, the planning consultant (acting on behalf of Ediston, the developer of the ex-RBS site) on progressing the Council-imposed condition / informative imposed as part of the approval of the various applications in relation to the wider development – specifically relating to cycling provision from the proposed new entrance into King George V Park (KGVP).
We have been invited to a further meeting on 15 October with the Council’s Parks & Green Spaces and Active Travel team along with the Friends and others to agree the final proposal for extending the cycle path from the new cut-through from Dundas Street to KGVP and widening / resurfacing current paths in KGVP to accommodate this – the final proposal put forward by the Council can be seen here.
We would be interested in any comments that local residents and park users have to this proposal.
Some Background to the Planning Applications
The new entrance to the park from Dundas Street – at the south-west corner – was approved by Edinburgh Council under application 20/03655/FUL in February 2021, and the wider development to the south and west of KGVP fully approved under application 20/03034/FUL (following completion of a legal agreement) in September 2021. This wider application contained an Informative following discussions at the Development Management Sub-Committee (expected to then be finalised / secured by a Legal Agreement which has now happened) which stated that :
The Developer shall be required to:
- Agree with the planning authority a list of consultees on the design of the park path improvements, prior to commencement of the development;
- Agree, following consultation, the design of the park path improvements with the Planning Authority, prior to occupation of any of the development;
- Deliver the park path improvements in accordance with the agreed design, prior to the occupation of 25% of the residential development.
It’s perhaps worth noting that Informative notes as attached to pending planning approvals are to allow the local planning authority to draw an applicant’s attention to other relevant matters and are less stringent than Conditions which aim to regulate the development or use of land under the control of the applicant even if it is outside the site which is the subject of the application. Conditions are essentially obligatory and require a much higher level of compliance, whereas Informatives, as far as we are aware, are not.
In regard to Informative 1. above – the list of consultees was agreed as being the community council and the Friends of the Park. These consultees have met with the planning consultant and landscape architects to discuss possible designs. Although several options were put forwards, the Council’s Active Travel representative was instrumental in specifying that this was an important ‘active travel’ route and stated that a 3.5 metre shared use path taking the most direct route was required.
Previously, NTBCC had stated in their representation based on views expressed by both residents and park users, that the majority of residents had concerns regarding the impact of cyclists using this new access in the south-west corner of the park and also had concerns from the poitential resulting impact on park users from cyclist / pedestrian interactions. We have also had some comments from cyclists, suggesting that alternate schemes should be explored to allow cyclists to have segregated access from Dundas Street which would reduce these possible cyclist / pedestrian impacts. We were also unsure how important this additional route through the park from Dundas Street would be as a chosen route to the National Cycle network (NCN) 75 to the east. We had suggested that either alternative routes should be explored from the new cut-through from Dundas Street to the existing NCN75 or as a fall-back, that options were considered which would encourage lower speeds on this route, especially if the direct access to KGVP in the south-western corner was seen as the preferred route.
However, despite various suggestions / submissions by the community council and park users (through the Friends of KGVP ), the proposal for a 3.5 metre tarmacked path from the south-west corner through KGVP to the existing NCN75 has been brought forward as the ‘final’ scheme – as can be seen on the attached final proposal.
Whilst we full understand the current Council’s aspirations regarding encouragement for cycling (which NTBCC broadly support); it’s not clear to NTBCC how important this additional cycle route is to this wider aspiration vs. the impact on park users.