Court of Session rejects council appeal against Edinburgh Marina transformation

The £500 million regeneration of Edinburgh Marina will continue to proceed after the City of Edinburgh Council lost its legal battle over the Scottish Government’s decision to overturned three separate planning rejections at the site.

Edinburgh Marina Holdings, the developer behind the Granton project, had its proposals for 100 apartments, coined The Moorings, rejected before submitting an appeal to the Scottish Government.

Ministers granted approval for the development in September while also overturning another planning refusal for two other plots of the wider masterplan, including the Hyatt Spa & Conference Hotel.

The local authority then took the decisions to the Court of Session in a final attempt to stop the development.

The site has been the focus of a long-running legal battle between the council and the developers who had successfully appealed a decision to refuse an extension to 2023 of the existing planning permission, first granted in 2003.

The council argued that the extension of the planning permission by the reporter required a new legal agreement, labelling the one agreed upon in 2003 as “no longer fit for purpose”.

Court of Session rejects council appeal against Edinburgh Marina transformation

The Moorings

However, in the judgement, written by Lord Carloway, the court states the decision to grant an extension to the planning permission was the right one and that the section 75 legal agreement around developer contributions made in 2003 is still relevant and there is no requirement for a new agreement.

The judges, who included Lord Menzies and Lord Drummond Young, said ongoing planning applications from the developer on reserved matters linked to the site meant the reporter’s decision was correct, while the legal agreement was also being adhered to by the developers.

It is understood the defeat could mean the council is faced with a legal bill in the hundreds of thousands for the court costs and expenses of the developers and its own legal team.

In addition to The Moorings and a retirement living development, the Edinburgh Marina masterplan includes the new 427-berth Edinburgh Marina, Hyatt Regency Spa and Conference hotel and serviced apartments and local neighbourhood shopping with a medical centre. Phase one of the development will create over 850 permanent new employment opportunities for the local community.

Court of Session rejects council appeal against Edinburgh Marina transformation

Charles Price, a spokesperson for Edinburgh Marina Holdings, said: “We have received confirmation that the ECC has lost its appeal to overturn last year’s successful appeal to extend the wider masterplan consent.

“The Edinburgh Marina waterfront development forms an essential component of the ECC’s £1.3bn Granton Waterfront Development Framework which was adopted by the council on Wednesday 26 February 2020.

“There is now a great sense of relief that our proposals will now be able to deliver on the key objectives for the Development Framework, whilst spearheading the wider development and future success of Granton’s Waterfront.”

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson told Scottish Construction Now: “We note the decision from the Court of Session to refuse the appeal, contrary to our and Scottish Minister’s submissions that it should be granted. The council is currently considering the implications of this decision.”

For a full account of the judgement, visit our sister publication Scottish Legal News.

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