Not 44 Scotland Street: strife over a New Town oasis
The Scotsman for 24 June 2009 reported a New Town row about a back garden in Fettes Row that has already been through the Lands Tribunal and looks likely to end up in the Court of Session.
The story seems to go like this. A former townhouse in Fettes Row was divided into flats in the mid-1940s. In 1967 the owner of the basement flat succeeded in establishing before the Lands Tribunal that she had rights to prevent use of the house back garden as a drying-green by the other flat proprietors, although they had a right of common interest to access the garden by way of a door at the foot of the back stair. Over the last 40 years the basement flat proprietor (the same person throughout all these years) has converted the space at the back into what she terms a "little oasis in the New Town", apparently spending thousands of pounds in the process. She has also succeeded in preventing her neighbours accessing the area.
The latest development is another case in the Lands Tribunal, where the basement flat proprietor has succeeded in having the neighbours' right of access overturned. It appears also that developers are keen to build mews houses on the ground, as they have done in neighbouring back greens, and that some of the other flat proprietors would like to do a deal with the developers. So it is not simply the case that the neighbours need somewhere to hang out their washing.
It all sounds like a situation the resolution of which would mystify Bertie (aged 6) and might even challenge the combined adult wisdom and experience of Domenica Macdonald, Angus Lordie and Cyril, all near by in Scotland Street. Perhaps the mediation of Merchiston's finest philosopher queen, Isabel Dalhousie, is what's needed (although the danger might be that she would just turn the green over to Brother Fox). Coffee at Big Lou's anyone?