Healthy opposition to ERI housing plan

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A COMPANY planning a major new housing development next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary instead of a “care village” has been warned to expect stiff opposition to its greenbelt proposals.

Developer Boskabelle has been unsuccessfully seeking an operator to progress its plans for sheltered apartments and a health centre on the Edmonstone estate since winning planning consent in 2009.

The economic downturn has hit interest in its site, within the grounds of a ruined stately home, and it has now been forced to draw up alternative proposals.

Housing firm Sheratan, part of the same company as Boskabelle, has now acquired the land and is to submit new plans for up to 100 family homes.

It hopes that the development will kickstart the regeneration of the “south-east wedge” of the city.

However, local councillor Tom Buchanan, who represents the Liberton/Gilmerton ward, said that proposals for housing on the land, which is part of the green belt, would face opposition.

He said: “They are on greenbelt land so it would have to be sensitive to that.

“To build a care home and care village without close proximity to the shops and other services was always going to be difficult to achieve, but I believe there are a number of operators that have been interested.

“There has been agreement for a care home and care village but, for anything else, being on the green belt is an issue for some people that live in the area. ”

The ten-acre site will sit next to a £30 million private hospital to be operated by Circle Healthcare.

The developer says that the new plans will be a major boost to the local area.

Ewan McIntyre, a director of EMA Architects, which is acting for Sheratan, said: “There is a clear shortage of much-needed family housing in the city and these proposals go some way towards addressing this need, as well as greatly improving the quality of the environment at the estate.

“Such a development, along with the associated infrastructure investment, will help progress the private hospital and other associated development, such as the BioQuarter.”

However, previous proposals for housing developments on the green belt have attracted strong opposition.

A spokesman for Sheratan said there had been “little interest” in the care village site since it was put on the market more than a year ago.