Colin Keir: More homes will leave west in a jam

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This coming Thursday, the council’s planning committee will be asked to make a set of decisions which will affect all of us. That said, some will be hit much harder than others.

Over the last two years, the council planners have been working on the production of the next Local Development Plan (LDP). Land around the city will be designated for new housing, which the city requires in order to keep up with demand. If they don’t, then youngsters leaving home and those on low incomes will not be able to find a home in the Capital. Services and the economy will suffer.

But here’s the problem: if by selecting an area for new housing without the necessary road infrastructure being up to scratch do you carry on and change the designation anyway, making travel and the lives of local residents misery or should you be looking for other options? This could happen to residents if the areas identified at Maybury and Cammo are designated for development.

The council planning officials have actively encouraged developers to make ready plans for submission as soon as these areas are re-designated for development.

Officials have completely ignored the fact that residents have identified transport and environmental problems relating to these areas. And that’s not including other relevant planning considerations. Indeed, the Cammo Residents Association has pointed out the blatant flaws in a process the council have been working on for two years. Do we have a competence issue?

Residents living at East and West Craigs are terrified that their lives will be made a misery as they have to use the heavily congested Maybury Road as their only access.

Perhaps if some had left their ivory tower at the City Chambers and made a visit to Maybury or Barnton at peak times they would have seen the blindingly obvious: that the two major gateways to the city are at bursting point as are the Queensferry and Corstorphine Road corridors.

As the Evening News reported, these two locations are some of the most heavily polluted in the UK, indeed the council even have air quality monitors at these points.

Councillors must see the inadequacies of their transport assessments. Claiming you can mitigate against a rise in traffic volume in the future is laughable when the problem is present right now.

The planning committee have difficult choices. It’s time they demanded more from their highly paid officers. Look at how transport moves, where are the pressure points and don’t just develop available space. Another good example is the addition of sites at South Queensferry where the local community council have been astonished at the lack of consultation.

City planning, please start at some point.

• Colin Keir is SNP MSP for Edinburgh Western