Housebuilding plan called ‘colouring by numbers’

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A controversial planning blueprint identifying sites for new housebuilding across the Capital has been condemned as “colouring by numbers”.

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said the proposals, published last week, failed to take account of the pressures which a major increase in population would place on roads and services in the areas affected.

He called for an immediate freeze on new developments in the west of the city pending a comprehensive review of transport, schools and healthcare.

The Local Development Plan (LDP) includes proposals for around 1500 new homes in South Queensferry, 600 homes at Cammo, 1850 at Maybury, around 350 in the International Business Gateway near the airport and another 300 in Currie and Balerno. In the south-east of the city, there would be 1100 new homes at Brunstane.

Mr Crockart said: “I would like to see a moratorium on all new development on the west side of the city until a proper assessment is made of the infrastructure needed to cope.

“Almost every week we hear of St John’s Road or Queensferry Road being the most congested or the most polluted in Scotland if not the UK.

“Any new development in the west of the city is just going to add to that.

“It’s typical of the planning department seems to be working. It’s not a strategic plan they have put in place, it’s colouring by numbers and if there is a slice of land between two built-up areas it’s seen as fair game.”

Mr Crockart added: “You need a direction of travel and a strategy for where a large number of houses need to go. And saying you will redesign the Barnton junction for the seventh time doesn’t work.”

Planning convener Ian Perry said studies of the impact of the developments on roads, schools and other services had concluded they could be managed.

But he said: “I would have no problem agreeing to a moratorium if we had the power to do that.

“But it’s only the Scottish Government who can do that – and they would also have to give us power to stop applications for sites in the green belt coming in because if we have a moratorium then technically we don’t have a plan. So any plan refused in the green belt would almost certainly be allowed on appeal because we are required to have an effective five-year land supply.”

The News revealed last week that the city’s Labour-SNP administration is split on the LDP. A legal threat from the Cammo Residents Association has seen a decision postponed until Thursday next week.

ESTATE PROPOSALS APPROVED

Proposals for 110 new homes at the Edmonstone Estate have been approved by councillors.

The development, located close to the BioQuarter and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France, will be undertaken by new housebuilder Edmonstone Homes.

A quarter of the homes will be “affordable housing” with the remainder priced from £250,000 for a three-bedroom house rising to £475,000 for a five-bedroom home.

Construction, which is expected to create 200 building jobs, is due to start later in the summer, with the first houses ready for occupation before Christmas.