Response to Portobello High School planning application

Dear PEDAL mem­bers and supporters,

Several people over the last day or so have asked ques­tions about PEDAL’s sub­mis­sion regard­ing the plan­ning applic­a­tion for the pro­posed new school in the park.  All sub­mis­sions are open to the pub­lic, and a copy of the let­ter which PEDAL sent is below.

This response was debated long and hard with­in the Board.  We felt that the energy and trans­port issues were so much part of PEDAL’s core pur­pose that not to com­ment on them would be odd and not in line with our mis­sion. However, we decided not to com­ment on the core issue of the school being built in the park as we were aware that our mem­bers had such diverse views on this mat­ter.  Our sub­mis­sion was not that we were opposed to the school in the park, but that we and our chil­dren deserve bet­ter if we are ever going to move towards a more sus­tain­able future.

Initially quite a few of the board mem­bers did­n’t want to word our com­ments as ‘objec­tions’, but we under­stand that this is the lan­guage you have to use if you want the coun­cil to take any issues you raise into account. It is unfor­tu­nate that the sys­tem is set up to be so adversari­al — this approach would not be our choice.

We hope that this helps explain the decision that we took, and that we can con­tin­ue to work togeth­er for a sus­tain­able Portobello and a sus­tain­able new high school.

Please do con­tact me dir­ectly if you wish to dis­cuss this fur­ther


Jane Lewis (Chairperson)

Please see below the text of our let­ter writ­ten to City of Edinburgh Council plan­ning department:

Dear Mr Bury,

PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town is work­ing towards a more sus­tain­able future for the com­munity of Portobello. As such, the fol­low­ing com­ments are made in rela­tion to the cur­rent pro­pos­al for a replace­ment for Portobello High School.

We wel­come and sup­port the invest­ment being made by the Council in a new high school in Portobello and believe that the new school should be designed in such a way that it has the least impact on the envir­on­ment and con­trib­ute to the sus­tain­able future that we all aspire to.

However, the energy per­form­ance and sus­tain­ab­il­ity stand­ard of the pro­posed build­ing would appear to be barely above that which is required by stat­ute and we object to the lack of innov­a­tion or sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion incor­por­ated in this new build­ing. As the build­ing will be with us for over 60 years it is imper­at­ive that this new civic build­ing should lead by example and aim for a zero car­bon foot­print. Only by doing so will we make sub­stan­tial reduc­tion in our reli­ance on fossil fuels.

There is a ref­er­ence to photo-vol­ta­ic cells, some heat recov­ery from the swim­ming pool and the ran­dom sedum roofs are included for sus­tain­ab­il­ity reas­ons but in total we object to the rel­at­ively poor con­tri­bu­tion that the new build­ing will make.

We object to a lack of com­mit­ment to a travel plan that would mean that all who are able to, walk or cycle to this site and thereby reduce con­ges­tion and harm­ful emis­sions. The traffic assess­ment states that this site is well served by buses and is also served by Brunstane rail­way sta­tion there­fore access is facil­it­ated by pub­lic trans­port. In par­tic­u­lar, the pro­posed pro­vi­sion of over a hun­dred car park­ing spaces works against the pro­mo­tion of pub­lic trans­port and is not in the spir­it of either the Council’s park­ing stand­ards nor the Council’s pro­mo­tion of act­ive travel plans.

Yours faith­fully,

Jane Lewis

Chairperson, PEDAL — Portobello Transition Town

14 responses to “Response to Portobello High School planning application

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