New Town anger at ‘Brookside’ house plan

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IT was the red-brick Liverpool soap opera in which lesbian trysts and under-patio burials shocked and riveted viewers for more than 20 years.

But now a New Town planning row has ignited fears a well-heeled Georgian street could become Edinburgh’s answer to Brookside Close after city planners backed a controversial two-storey mews house within a Great King Street garden.

The construction of the mews house in the site highlighted has led to claims the area will become like Brookside Close. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The construction of the mews house in the site highlighted has led to claims the area will become like Brookside Close. Picture: Ian Georgeson

In scenes not dissimilar to those from the long-running Channel 4 soap opera, neighbours have united to fight the proposal amid concerns it could open the floodgates to a slew of new developments springing up in each other’s gardens.

Conservative estimates suggest the quiet lane could almost double in size, with the potential for around eight new dwellings in the substantial back lawns.

But planning chiefs have moved to quell any hysteria by insisting the decision does not set a precedent for others with similar intentions.

Long-term resident Jim Sibbet, chairman of Northumberland Street North East Lane Association, explained the “Brookside Close” comment, which was made in a formal objection letter written by neighbour Clive Williamson.

Brookside Close. Picture: Channel 4

Brookside Close. Picture: Channel 4

“The fear is overdevelopment,” he said. “If this one is granted, why would the next garden not want to do the same and build a house worth £250,000.

“It could lead to ribbon development.”

Mr Sibbet told how a similar proposal had been granted planning permission 24 years ago and was only completed recently.

A planning source at the City Chambers, who asked not to be named, said: “Never mind Brookside Close, the residents here are very organised and outspoken.

“If you try to do anything in this area it always generates a lot of objection.”

But planning convener Ian Perry said there was scant argument to refuse the new-build property given similar projects and the “appropriate” design of the property.

Councillor Perry said: “The planning committee felt it was in keeping with existing buildings because right next door there is a very similar mews house and there’s an older one on the other end.

“It’s a very traditional design using the appropriate materials such as stone so the conclusion was that it didn’t affect any neighbours’ amenity in terms of loss of light or overlooking other people’s gardens.

“There was a lot of concern registered but on balance the committee agreed the application but just because we granted this application it’s not automatic that a similar application would be granted.”