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Edinburgh council chiefs 'broke law'

posted 16 Apr 2010, 17:16 by David Rintoul   [ updated 16 Apr 2010, 17:39 ]

Hopes of reviving a controversial development in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town have been dealt a huge blow after a European ruling that council leaders in the capital had flouted the law over the £300 million scheme.

The city council is embroiled in a second international row over its world heritage site after the European Commission ruled the authority had illegally sold a huge swathe of public land at the heart of a controversial development.

The city faces being dragged through the courts after a two-year inquiry found the authority had "infringed" a host of European laws over a £4.5m deal with a property giant.

The firm, Mountgrange, which had already bought up the site of a former bus depot and a homeless hostel, was allowed to create a much bigger scheme after agreeing to buy various council-owned buildings and land without them going on the open market.