Fields in Trust Protection for Orchard Park

Closed 27 Jan 2023

Opened 18 Nov 2022


Parks and green spaces are proven to help people stay physically and mentally well, build community spirit, help combat loneliness and are important for the planet.

The Blackhall Community Trust have applied for a Community Asset Transfer of the Ravelston Park Pavilion located at Craigcrook Road, Edinburgh, the intention is to develop the building into a new community hub, including space for a new early learning and childcare centre.  The park is currently protected in perpetuity under a Fields in Trust agreement, as part of this agreement any area of protected land disposed of for non-ancillary purposes must be replaced by land of the same if not better quality and serve the same community.

The City of Edinburgh Council is proposing that the area lost in Ravelston is replaced by protecting the whole of Orchard Park (which is a significantly larger than the area lost in Ravelston Park) and would like your opinion on this.

Who are Fields in Trust?

Fields in Trust is a charity founded in 1925 with the aim of protecting parks and green spaces for future generations. Previously known as the National Playing Fields Association, it was founded by HRH The Duke of York, later HM King George VI, the role was taken on by The Duke of Edinburgh and on his retiral it was taken up by The Duke of Cambridge.

Fields in Trust works in partnership with landowners to protect land through a Minute of Agreement, a binding legal commitment with the landowner to retain the site as a green space for current and future generations to enjoy.

What does protection mean?

It is a robust yet flexible way of legally safeguarding a space, making it necessary that the owner seeks permission from Fields in Trust before unsympathetic developments can take place.

Legally protecting a site prevents the land being lost or drastically changed by building development that is not directly linked or have clear association with the recreational use of the site. This allows green spaces to be protected in perpetuity for everybody to enjoy. 

The definition of parks and green spaces includes parks, public playing fields, recreation grounds, play and open spaces. A Minute of Agreement with Fields in Trust guarantees that the site would need to remain publicly accessible, free and within the original purpose such as sport, play, open space, a space to enjoy and nature.

What will be allowed?

Buildings with a clear and direct use to a site include sports pavilions, changing rooms, toilets, storage facilities, cafes, play equipment and skate parks will generally be supported by Fields in Trust.

What will it not allow?

Anything not in line with the primary use of the site may require consent from Fields in Trust.  Should the landowner wish to change the use of the site or part of the site, it will need to apply for a field change request for approval. In general, a landowner would need to offer a new space which is of equal or better quality, and which serves the same community in return.

What happens next

This consultation regarding the replacement of land lost from Ravelston Park with that of Orchard Park closed in January 2023.  The results have been submitted to the Fields in Trust Scottish Committee, who are currently considering the application.


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