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Developer cuts Edinburgh flats after council property 'blunder'

The developer of a proposed apartment block by Edinburgh-based practice Hackland & Dore has scaled back the scheme after council officers bungled the property deal at the heart of the plan. It is having to cut the number of flats from 80 to 50 after Edinburgh City Council officials discovered they had sold the land in Leith with a legal covenant barring large-scale development.

Developer Tayforth Property Developments is furious about the problem and has successfully lobbied the council for a reimbursement of £100,000. Tayforth's development director John Gibson refused to confirm reports that he plans to take legal action, but the council said the matter 'remains in the hands of the lawyers'.

The land in Lindsay Street was sold last year without anybody realising it was 'burdened' with a covenant intended to guarantee that it stayed in public hands. Gibson said the council had 'had no right' to sell his firm the land, and the firm had 'no legal choice' but to cut the number of flats.

Edinburgh City Council said its mistake had been a genuine one and hoped that the project would go ahead in some form.

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