A NEW housing development planned for green belt land on the outskirts of Edinburgh has been recommended for refusal by city planners, despite the developers’ pledge to donate £600,000 towards apprenticeships.
Sheratan intends to build 110 homes at the Edmonstone Estate near the Royal Infirmary in the south of the Capital, a quarter of which would be earmarked as affordable housing.
The estate, which comprises a large walled garden and a separate field, had been planned for a care home, but when plans later collapsed the new housing proposals were drawn up.
However, officials have urged members of the city’s planning committee to reject the bid, arguing that there is enough land earmarked for development and that, at present, no need to use green belt.
Sheratan has pledged £100,000 every year to support apprenticeships in Craigmillar through the Edinburgh Guarantee scheme, which finds paid internships in the public and private sectors for school leavers unable to find job or university course.
Around 200 jobs would also be created during construction. Community leaders have also backed the bid, and Terry Tweed, secretary of Craigmillar Community Council, urged councillors to go against officials and approve the homes.
He said: “There was already planning permission for the care home, so we don’t understand why it should be any different for homes. We have the ERI nearby and the bioquarter being developed and the people coming to work in these places need somewhere to live.
“We also dispute that it is proper green belt land. I’m all for defending green belt when it is something of value but this is substandard scrub of a low grade.
“We’ve had a promise from the Edinburgh Guarantee people that the money will be spend in Craigmillar, creating apprenticeships and employment opportunities and that’s needed in our area.”
If approved, 63 new two-storey residential properties would be built on the eight acre field, comprising a mix of semi-detached and detached properties with three, four and five bedrooms and private garden.
In the walled garden, a total of 47 homes, including 28 affordable, would be constructed comprising a mix of one, two and three-bedroom flats and houses and including seven disabled access flats.
John Bury, head of planning at Edinburgh City Council, told councillors there were “no compelling reasons to override the strong policy presumption against development in the green belt”.
Sheratan have argued that while in the green belt, the principle of development has already been established when plans for the axed care home were approved. They said this made it different from other related sites in the city.
Speaking on behalf of the firm, Ewan McIntyre, of EMA Architects, said: “This is a project that is not only highly deliverable in terms of housing and infrastructure, but will also serve to provide much-needed chances of employment for young people in the area.”