‘Garden district’ plan on Edinburgh greenbelt

A map of the proposed 'garden district'

A map of the proposed 'garden district'

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A MASTERPLAN has been launched to show how greenbelt land owned by Sir David Murray would be transformed into a £1 billion “garden district”.

Expert planners have spent three years drawing up the designs – which include 3500 family homes, university and business villages and a Scottish national garden, which would be built beyond the bypass in west Edinburgh.

The new commuter hub would be the jewel in the crown of the former Rangers owner.

Murray Estates, which controls more than 675 acres of land to the west of the city, wants to develop the urban district to incorporate a new high school, three primary schools and other local amenities.

The 60-acre garden complex, dubbed the Calyx, would boast themed green areas, water features and research facilities as part of a £25 million concept.

A sports hub could become a new home for Edinburgh Rugby under the plans.

The business village would see 1500 homes built in walking distance of Edinburgh Park and the International Business Gateway in the hope of attracting staff and their families to live there, lifting pressure on the city’s transport network.

Similarly, the university village with 1400 properties is so-called because of its close proximity to Heriot Watt.

Developers say the proposals, close to the RBS headquarters at Gogarburn and the Gyle shopping centre, would create 900 jobs.

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said the latest designs had been the direct result of extensive public consultation.

“We asked the public what they wanted and this is what they came back with,” he said. “The proposals are the culmination of many years’ careful planning, ensuring they blend perfectly as a natural extension to the west of Edinburgh, providing quality family housing, sporting and leisure facilities and through the Calyx, a new world-class tourist attraction and National Garden for Scotland.”

The property giants believe the new homes – a quarter of which would be affordable housing – would help to alleviate the shortage in the city. Scottish Government directives mean the council must build 71,000 new homes by 2033.

Mr Davies argued the development of an urban centre was a more efficient way of creating the homes than adding “100 here and 100 there” and development of greenbelt land was now a necessity, as demonstrated on the council’s most recent Local Development Plan.

He said: “I do not envy the dilemma faced by councillors, however everybody now accepts that the debate is about which parts of greenbelt should accommodate new housing, not whether greenbelt should be designated for housing.”

Brochures detailing the proposals have been sent to every councillor in the south east of Scotland. If planning permission is granted, the project is expected to take between 15 and 20 years to complete.