Gary Bennett: Only landowner wants greenbelt build

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Last summer Edinburgh City Council issued its Local Development Plan for consultation. This included a proposal to build up to 700 houses in an area of greenbelt in west Edinburgh, the Cammo fields.

Some 267 representations were sent to the council, only one of them was in favour and that was from the landowner. Yet here we are, a year later, with Cammo still earmarked for housing and the local community feeling ignored, while the council seems to listen to developers and landowners.

Local people don’t deserve that, in my view. We’ve sought to play our part. Making sense of the council’s documentation is far from easy – much of it is jargon ridden and complex – and yet people have tried to get involved and make their voices heard.

We have raised significant and important issues which deserve to be taken seriously. In particular, the whole process has been badly handled and legally required procedures have not been properly followed. We have voiced very important concerns about the intolerable increase in traffic congestion which affects everyone who uses the Barnton junction, not just those of us who live in this part of the city. We’re concerned about the resultant increase in air pollution too. We are also disappointed with the inadequate assessment of brownfield site availability and the failure to undertake a proper analysis of green field sites as required by Scottish Planning Policy. Building on the Cammo fields will also severely damage and permanently disfigure the landscape and will reduce people’s access to the Cammo Park recreational area.

In addition, building on the Cammo fields will not meet the council’s stated aims for its Local Development Plan. It will not assist the city economy. Road and traffic delays don’t help businesses, they cost them money as employees sit in traffic queues.

Even at this late stage we would urge the council to think again and remove Cammo from the Local Development Plan. A more comprehensive review of available brownfield land is needed to inform the plan and the council needs to undertake a comprehensive and proper assessment of green field sites if further land is required.

We have been in touch with the members of the planning committee and our local councillors and would urge them to put politics aside, listen to the arguments and the voices of local people and do what is right. The proposal to designate Cammo as a site for housing is deeply flawed and this should be removed from the Local Development Plan.

Gary Bennett is chairman of the Cammo Residents Association. On Twitter @Cammo_Residents #savecammofields. On Facebook at Cammo Residents Association. www.cammoresidentsassociation.org