THE GREEN credentials of JK Rowling have been called into question by one of the world’s oldest conservation groups after it objected to her plans to demolish a house in Edinburgh.
The Harry Potter author, who owns a 17th century mansion in a suburb of the city, wants to level a neighbouring property to make way for a Renaissance-style garden.
But her proposal has failed to impress the 140-year-old Cockburn Association, which has questioned the
“sustainability’ of knocking down a
“perfectly good’ house.
The body said it
“regrets’ that the 1970s house, which Rowling recently bought for 1million, should be facing demolition.
The group’s members include Sir Sandy Crombie, an independent director of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Lord Brodie, a High Court judge.
In its submission to Edinburgh city council it states:
“We note the loss of a perfectly adequate and functional recently constructed dwelling from the city’s housing stock and we regret and question the sustainability aspects of this demolition. “
Marion Williams, the director of the Cockburn Association, said it did not object to Rowling’s planning application, but there was concern that knocking down the house could set a precedent for other wealthy individuals.
“We don’t take any notice of ownership, but this (planning application) came to us and we wondered why the building was being knocked down. Our objection on sustainability grounds is to knocking down a perfectly good house. We question if that’s the right approach.
“It is unusual but we would be concerned if it set any kind of precedent, it would be a shame if it became a trend. Generally speaking, we can’t afford to lose good housing stock. “
Rowling, who is worth an estimated 530m, once promised to end her part in the destruction of the world’s forests, and guaranteed that her sixth Harry Potter book would be printed on recycled or
“ancient forest-friendly’ paper sourced from sustainable planted forests.
A few years later she blocked the Finnish version of the final book in the series from being printed on local paper because it lacked an ecological certificate.
A spokesman for the author declined to comment on the Cockburn Association’s concerns.
However, Harvey Cooke, a spokesman for a local community group, welcomed the plans.
“It’s rather nice to have somebody living in the area with the money to build up to specification,’ he said.
“There are too many flats being built in the districts and it’s getting up people’s noses. “
The Cockburn Association was founded in the late 19th century in memory of Henry Cockburn, the Scottish judge who campaigned to protect and enhance the beauty of Edinburgh.
It recently challenged Fettes College, which is said to have inspired Rowling to dream up her gothic vision of Hogwarts, over plans to create a modern all-girls’ boarding house in its grounds. It warned that a proposed 3m development would harm the view of the 1870 building, designed by David Bryce.
In addition to flattening the neighbouring house, Rowling is seeking permission to build a summer house that bears a striking resemblance to the stone hut inhabited by Hagrid, the giant groundsman from her Harry Potter books.
It will have similar stone steps up the front door, a conical roof, a spire and chimney.
Rowling also wants to recreate a sundial and create an area of common ground for residents.