Raeburn Place Foundation slams misleading information provided to Grange Club members in advance of EGM

12 December 2017

Raeburn Place Foundation has been made aware that Grange Trust/Grange Club ("Grange") intend to hold an EGM on 13 December 2017 for the Grange members to make certain decisions regarding the ongoing court action that the Grange Trust have raised against The City of Edinburgh Council. We have seen the notice and papers circulated to Grange Club members and we are sufficiently concerned about what we consider to be inaccurate and/or misleading statements within the papers that we have instructed our solicitors to write immediately to the solicitors representing the Grange and we have also resolved to issue this press release.

Given the potential for personal liability of the individual members of Grange Club, the Foundation considers that the Grange Club members should seek clarification on:

  1. Status of the Road: The papers make very little reference to the real nub of the issue but the papers do say ... "Unless the wall was to be treated as a public road..." That suggests that the wall has not been treated as a public road - which is wrong. The wall is listed as a public road on the public register of roads and we have obtained and are working in accordance with a roads construction consent issued by the City of Edinburgh Council to carry out our works on the public road where the wall had stood. The public will be able to take access across the strip of ground, which was gifted to the Council by The Edinburgh Academical Club (EAC) and Grange Trust in 1912. The papers also incorrectly state that the Council has handed control of the pavement to RPF. The pavement remains part of the public realm and within the control of the Council.
  2. 1912 Agreement: The papers give the impression that the land given to the Council in 1912 was entirely within the gift of Grange Trust and was given to the Council to build the road. These statements are also wrong. The land was given to the Council by Grange Trust and EAC for road widening purposes and that piece of land is still used for that purpose.
  3. Interim Interdict: Grange failed in their action of Interim Interdict against us and stated that our action in carrying out works on the public road were provocative. This creates a false impression. The Grange EGM in February 2016 had stated that Grange "would not need to seek interim interdict". Interim Interdict was also regarded as unnecessary by the Judge on the case. The Council did not take a formal part in these proceedings but attended on a watching brief. The reason the Interim Interdict was refused was not purely due to public safety. There were, instead, a large number of reasons, including that the works were being carried out under a road construction consent; a building contract was in place; the works would not impact on any title claim; and it would impact on the charitable purpose behind the project.
  4. Access: The Grange continue to mislead by stating that our development cannot be accessed, other than by across the disputed strip of land. This is wrong. In addition to the public rights over the public road, there are alternative points of access to the development site. This is fundamental to any value Grange believe could be attributed to the strip. The strip remains an area of ground under the public road. Ownership rights are suspended under these circumstances, therefore any value must be negligible. The Grange previously asserted a value of around £875,000 (based on figures from DM Hall) and £600,000 if legal prospects of success in a dispute were viewed as 70% and there now seems to be an offer of £12,500. RPF would assume the Grange Club members would be seeking a professional valuation taking account of the relevant factors to ascertain the true value of the land.
  5. Costs: Grange lost their Interim Interdict against us and are due to pay costs to the Foundation (which remain outstanding). Various other figures have been mentioned. The Foundation regards some of these figures as under-estimates and would again assume that the Grange Club members (who may eventually require to foot the bill) would seek and obtain realistic estimates of their full downside liability.
  6. Other options: The EGM notice only contains two options, ie Continue/Abandon the Appeal or Sell the Strip to Douglas Lowe. It is surprising no mention is made of any settlement negotiations with the Council or otherwise. The Foundation is not sure why other options have not been put forward (supported by professional advice/valuations etc).

The Foundation’s position remains that the strip of ground and wall at Comely Bank Road are part of the public road. There is no 'ransom strip' between their development site and the public road. Grange continue to try and hold a charitable sporting development to ransom. The Foundation has proceeded on the basis of robust legal advice, information contained in the public register of adopted roads and has obtained all necessary consent for its development works. Grange has already lost in court twice so far and the Foundation is very disappointed that the Grange Club members may seek to take this further. Therefore the Foundation is watching with interest the outcome of the EGM.