Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Commons Belong To The People.

Protect the commons wherever it is. 

From our friends on the east coast.

      For seven years local people have worked to keep Portobello Park free from development by the City of Edinburgh Council. In September 2012, the Court of Session confirmed that the Park is inalienable common good land and that it cannot be used as the site of the new Portobello High School.
     Despite the Council having identified alternative suitable brownfield sites for the new school, they are now trying to use the Scottish Parliament to give them permission to build on the Park through a Private Bill. If successful, this Bill could set a precedent for other councils to use this route to obtain permission to circumvent common good protection, putting common good land and open spaces across Scotland at risk.
      If you agree that building on green space should not be allowed when a brownfield alternative exists, and you are concerned about the implications of this Private Bill, please sign

     Folk could also consider objecting to the private bill as we need as many folk across Scotland to do so.  It does cost £20 though! Representation is not cheap.  Here is a link to guidance for objectors:

      There is mention of adverse impact to people's interests and it seems to mention a list of points that look as though they are financial impacts but I think that even if people don't live in Portobello or Edinburgh it is acceptable to say that because of the fear of a precedent being set for other councils to follow that could affect other common good land and open spaces across Scotland, you have an interest in the bill as it could affect your local open spaces, adversely affecting your health and wellbeing, or something along those lines. If you do decide to object, can you let me know please as we would like to keep a tally of objections as far as we can.

ann arky's home.


  1. In Spain, the fascist government we suffer is trying to promote legislation to undermine the power of municipalities, that is, the closest to the people and from which issues, such as those raised here, can be answered by ghent in a more effective and independent way.

  2. There is another side to this debate.

    The consultation on the proposed Bill attracted 10,000 responses across the city, with 70% in favour. Of respondents from the local area, 76% were in favour. There are reasons for that.

    This has been an ongoing issue for over 7 years and, whilst building on greenspace is never ideal, the majority of local people support it because the park is by far the best site for the school. There would still be 2.2Ha of park left around the school, as well as 2 full sized, freely accessible, all-weather pitches, and the adjacent golf-course would remain. In addition there would be a new 2.2Ha park created on the existing schools site meaning the net loss of Open Space would only be 0.4Ha.

    The proposed Private Bill seeks to reclassify part of Portobello Park as alienable Common Good for the purposes of education, thereby allowing the school to be built. Outwith such an educational function, the park would remain as inalienable Common Good land and associated restrictions would continue to apply. It would not change the legal status of any other Common Good land, or green space, anywhere else.

    No legal precedent would be set by such a Bill. Private Bills are, by their very nature, specific to a particular circumstance and leave the general law unchanged. Also the success or failure of one Private Bill has no bearing on another one. Any Private Bill will be judged by the Scottish Parliament on its own merits. And a Private Bill is not an easy option. It is time consuming, with no guarantee of success. To pass, the Scottish Parliament needs to be persuaded of the merits, which in most instances will also require a demonstration of public support.

    When it comes to the Portobello Park Private Bill, it is clear that the local people are broadly in support.

    I absolutely appreciate that some people will find building on a park completely unacceptable whatever the circumstances, but I would ask you consider the matter in detail before signing any petition.