Wall torn down in garden must be rebuilt 'piece-by-piece'

Part of the protected sandstone wall was dismantled last year to form a driveway outside the resident's flat.

Edinburgh councillors rule wall in historic Lochend Colonies area must be rebuilt LDRS

A garden wall torn down without planning permission in a historic area in Edinburgh must be rebuilt piece-by-piece, councillors have ruled. 

The resident of Ashville Terrace in the Lochend Colonies dismantled part of the protected sandstone wall last year as part of work to form a driveway outside her top floor flat off the narrow residential street where parking is notoriously difficult.

The job was finished by last summer, complete with a dropped kerb and adjusted pavement.

Furious neighbours were quick to hit back at the development, calling it “shameful” and warning it could “ruin” the close community.

The resident behind the creation of the parking space, who asked not to be named, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she approached planning officers prior to making the changes and was told no consent was needed, further stating that the go-ahead was given for alterations to the pavement – claims since denied by Edinburgh City Council.

Following a visit from council officials, she was told to submit a retrospective planning application for the driveway, which went before the Development Management Sub-Committee on Wednesday.

It prompted 42 objections from neighbouring residents living in the Colony houses near Leith Links, with one writing: “I was astonished to see the original boundary wall demolished”, and another stating: “There are only five areas in Edinburgh and Scotland with these houses! Shameful of the owner.”

The number of objections were apparently outweighed by 57 letters of support, most of which were left blank and not attributed to anyone.

Furthermore, a report to the committee noted that “multiple representations were submitted by individuals”.

In one, the new parking space was dubbed “an ecological beautiful driveway”.

At the meeting, councillors heard that no permit for the dropped kerb had been granted, and that planning permission would have had to be in place for this to be obtained.

The council’s senior transport officer Matthew Simpson said: “If work has been carried out on the footway without that permit being in place then that’s potentially committing an offence, which could be enforced by the roads authority.

“It would be rather odd to have a dropped kerb with no off-street parking area, it would be a rather daft thing to have and it can potentially cause other issues.”

Members followed the recommendation by city planners to refuse permission and enforce the wall’s reinstatement, which they unanimously voted in favour of.

Planning convener councillor Neil Gardiner said: “The colonies are an important part of Edinburgh and they are a conservation area for that reason, that the unique living with very tight spaces with amenity spaces provided and so on.

“It’s important to keep them as cohesive as we can.”

The decision means the applicant will be told to rebuild the wall exactly how it was, although she had earlier vowed to lodge an appeal and to take legal action against Edinburgh City Council over its handling of the case.

Her partner, who does not live at the address permanently, added that the response to the driveway being built has amounted to “a witch hunt conducted by local residents”.

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