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 [at] gn [dot] apc [dot] org
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.
Chairperson, PEDAL — Portobello Transition Town