controversial plans to earmark fields at Brunstane for up to 1330 houses would eat up the last piece of greenbelt separating Edinburgh from Musselburgh, campaigners claim.
But planning officials are recommending the land-locked 48-hectare site should be included in the blueprint to ensure the city has enough housing for the next two decades.
David Walker, a Labour councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar, said: “This is the only piece of greenbelt left between Edinburgh and Musselburgh. If they build on that, the two will merge into one.”
The Local Development Plan, to be discussed by councillors later this week, has identified a host of greenbelt sites across the city where it says new homes should be built.
On the Brunstane site, it says: “Whilst development resulting in the coalescence of settlements is not normally supported, it is justified in this instance because this site compared favourably to other possible options.”
Fellow Labour councillor Maureen Child said the problems which would be caused by development of the Brunstane site were more severe than those at Cammo and Maybury in the west of the city, which have been at the centre of most controversy over the LDP.
She said: “According to the analysis done for the plan, the increase in traffic on Newcraighall Road is much greater than at any of the other sites.” She said the site was landlocked and access was likely to be a problem. To the north, the plan envisaged an exit over the Brunstane Burn onto Milton Road East, and to the south was busy Newcraighall Road, which was narrowed by a bridge at each end.
Sean Watters, secretary of Portobello Community Council, said: “The site is not easy to get to, which is presumably why it has not been developed in the past. There must be a question mark over how they are going to access it.”