LDP to be passed without change

Sandy Howat said there is no pressure from the government. Picture: Greg Macvean
Sandy Howat said there is no pressure from the government. Picture: Greg Macvean
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city councillors have backtracked on plans to include Sir David Murray’s £1 billion “Garden District” in the Capital’s development blueprint.

Talks have been held which would have spared areas such as Brunstane, Cammo and Newmills from new development in favour of land between the A8 and M8 at Gogar.

But at a planning committee meeting tomorrow, councillors will pass the controversial Local Development Plan (LDP) – a proposal for thousands of new homes needed across the city – without making changes.

They will merely make a recommendation to the Scottish Government to reduce housing allocations in certain areas, but there are no guarantees that ministers will consider it.

The Evening News revealed on Monday that councillors were looking to spare Brunstane, Newmills and Cammo from the LDP in favour of the Garden District.

However, sources said that pressure from the SNP group to pass the LDP unchanged led to the proposal being abandoned, leaving west Edinburgh communities in limbo.

One council insider accused the SNP group of hypocrisy as it had previously wanted to remove Cammo from the LDP.

They said: “Now the SNP are stomping all over [planning convener] Ian Perry for trying to do the same thing.

“I can only imagine there is a reason for that and that is because the SNP have been told that is what they need to do.”

A senior Labour source said: “[Scottish Government Communities Secretary] Alex Neil has cracked the whip and the ducks have lined up behind him.

“It’s come down to a choice of do they represent the people of Edinburgh or do they fall into line for Holyrood and they have chosen to fall into line for Holyrood.”

The backtracking was today branded a blow by residents in Cammo, where the LDP has been strongly opposed.

A spokeswoman for Cammo Residents Association said: “It’s very disappointing if that possibility [of the Garden District] has broken down, but we will continue to fight to have Cammo removed from the LDP.

“We were very interested when we saw the story in the Evening News, as we have suggested to the council for a while now that they should be considering the Garden District.”

Rejecting claims of government interference, the city’s SNP leader Councillor Sandy Howat said: “We’re not under any pressure at all from the national government.

“I have had no pressure from any government minister.

“It would have been nicer, had we not been in a coalition, to have made the decision about [removing] areas like Cammo over a year ago.

“However, we have had to be appreciative of other parties having a different point of view.”

Meanwhile, industry body Homes for Scotland called on councillors to sign off the long-overdue plan tomorrow – warning that more delays will lead to a housing shortage and runaway prices.

Director of planning Nicola Barclay said: “The most positive thing the council can do is to send the plan onwards and allow the independent examination process to begin.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com