Comment: We love to see the underdog win the day

The Telferton allotments. File picture: Greg Macvean

The Telferton allotments. File picture: Greg Macvean

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WE all know that Edinburgh desperately needs more affordable homes.

With the average house price sitting at £230,000 and continuing to rise at twice the national average, there is little sign of the Capital’s housing crisis easing.

There is only one sure way to solve the problem – one that is essentially a matter of supply and demand – and that is to build more homes.

But despite the glaring need for more development, it is hard not to feel a little joy at the victory of the Telferton allotment holders who have defeated – at least for the time being – plans to build over their vegetable patches.

Of course, we all love to see the underdog winning the day. The developer in this case, Avant Homes, may not be the giant in a David versus Goliath story, but in a battle between allotment holders and a housebuilder, few would expect the gardeners to win.

There is more to it than that, though.

We all want to have our own bit of green space, whether that is a back garden, a window box or an allotment. And that adds immeasurably to our quality of life. Allotments provide us with healthy food and exercise as well as a bit of greenery to gaze out over, which is good for the soul.

Good development should have spaces like the Telferton allotments planned in to them. That is particularly important when development is moving at such a pace as it is in Edinburgh right now.

The gardeners of Telferton will have to wait to see whether the builder will appeal. Until the council can create a robust development plan that allows the city to wrestle back control over its own planning destiny that is going to be a constant threat.

But when the planners’ job has effectively been done for them, with well-used green space existing side by side with busy residential areas, then it has to be hoped it can be left alone.