HUNDREDS of new homes are to be built across the Capital under plans unveiled by one of the country’s biggest construction firms.
Bosses at Barratt said the launch of five development sites in and around Edinburgh over the next year – accounting for around a third of its building plans for the whole of Scotland – confirmed the strength of the city’s housing market and economy.
And they said they would push for the release of even more land to satisfy what they called “significant and unmet” demand for homes.
But the announcement was attacked by environmental leaders after it emerged that a controversial 112-home development on green belt land at Burdiehouse – rejected by councillors but approved on appeal to the Scottish Government – was among the new projects.
Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, said: “Edinburgh and the Lothians are a growth area for us – demand is high in this part of the country and our announcement reflects that.”
Mr McLeod said the Burdiehouse development would proceed alongside four others, delivering just over 800 homes throughout the Capital and surrounding regions.
Barratt revealed work on 144 houses at Fairmilehead would begin as early as next month and that it was waiting for planning consent for a 232-home development in Edinburgh’s Brunswick Road.
In the Lothians, Standhill Farm at Bathgate will see 180 homes built as part of the massive Wester Inch development, while plans for the construction of 140 houses in Eskbank are well advanced.
Mr McLeod said: “We’ve received lots of inquiries from potential customers. We anticipate that all of these sites will be very popular.
“I think our plans for Edinburgh and the Lothians are a sign that the economy here is more resilient than in other parts of the country.
“What we are demonstrating through this announcement is our commitment to Scotland, and particularly to Edinburgh and the Lothians.”
He added that his company would actively seek new development opportunities in the Capital.
Mr McLeod said: “There have been so few houses built in Edinburgh over the past five to seven years, the pent-up demand for smaller homes for people looking to start a family to larger family homes is very high.
“I don’t think we have enough land for housing in the city and I would certainly support moves to release more so that we can meet the demand that exists.”
But plans to proceed with construction of 112 homes at Burdiehouse were criticised by leaders of the Capital’s Greens, who warned the development could lead to a “creeping succession” of schemes that would eventually cause the “erosion” of the entire green belt.
An application to build 100 homes at Burdiehouse Road was submitted in May 2010 but later refused by planning chiefs, who said the development was “contrary to green belt policy and was not supported in terms of housing policies within the development plan”.
Councillor Steve Burgess, housing spokesman for the Greens, said: “The Burdiehouse development will contribute to a weakening of the green belt – if there are further developments like this, we will see the entire erosion of the green belt.
“Having a green belt is about trying to protect the integrity of the city. Burdiehouse is one of those sensitive areas where there’s a need for new housing – that’s not disputed – but it has to be in the right location.”
• Up to 1000 new homes are to be delivered through a multi-million pound funding package to be announced by the Deputy First Minister today.
Nicola Sturgeon said councils across Scotland will receive a share of the pot, which is being pledged to help families into social housing.