Ash Denham: A green belt and braces approach for Brunstane

Greenbelt land at Brustane earmarked for development. Picture: Scott Louden
Greenbelt land at Brustane earmarked for development. Picture: Scott Louden
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Since being elected as MSP for East Edinburgh, I have had regular correspondence from constituents making their views heard about the proposed Brunstane development, which will see up to 1300 new homes built on open space in the east of the city. The main concern from the majority of the public is that the development will be built on the green belt.

After speaking with Councillor Alex Lunn, vice-convener of Edinburgh’s planning committee, he stated that in order to meet housing quotas, building on some greenbelt space will be essential. Cllr Lunn told me: “Although it is council policy to build on brownfield space before building on greenbelt, there is not sufficient enough space on brownfield sites to meet the housing needs in Edinburgh”.

Edinburgh Easter SNP MSP Ash Denham

Edinburgh Easter SNP MSP Ash Denham

As discussions with Edinburgh’s planning committee are ongoing, I intend to look into this over the coming weeks. I firmly believe that all brownfield space should be built on before we consider building on greenbelt space.

The Scottish Government is committed to building 30,000 new homes within Edinburgh by 2024 to address the growing housing crisis. East Edinburgh needs to play its part in this. EDI have said they will invest in the traffic infrastructure within the area, add bus links, and also easier access for pedestrians within the area.

However, there have been a number of other concerns raised by constituents about the possible impact on schooling. Although this is a conversation which is still ongoing, the majority of the development is likely to fall within the Castlebrae Community High School catchment area.

I will be meeting with representatives from the school, as well as speaking with Edinburgh council to discuss how this development will affect classroom sizes, and capacity of the high school. On top of this, the plans from EDI include a new primary school, which will be built to support the increase in local population, and I will do everything I can to ensure, that if the development goes ahead, this will happen.

The number of GP surgeries, within the area are also a concern. EDI intend to provide a provision for new local facilities, which could include space to incorporate surgeries and dentists within New Brunstane. As this is dependent on NHS Scotland, I intend to meet with NHS Lothian to discuss, and assess the likelihood of a new surgery and dentist being built within the area.

Last week, I spoke with Geoff Lynn, chair of Portobello Community Council, which has recently released a public objection to the proposed development. After 5000 leaflets were distributed to the local community, as well as being publicised online, The community council have received 141 objections to the development mainly from the surrounding areas of the site.

Main concerns have ranged from the impact on local traffic to available parking, as well as road safety and pollution. These concerns have all been taken on board, and during my meetings within the coming weeks, will be at the forefront of my discussions with all those affected.

Ash Denham is SNP MSP for Edinburgh Eastern