A THREAT of legal action by residents campaigning against hundreds of homes being built on their doorstep has forced the city to put a 20-year planning blueprint on ice.
Cammo Residents Association claims the proposal for 600 houses would cause gridlock at the nearby Barnton junction.
They also believe there are enough brownfield sites to accommodate the extra houses the Capital desperately needs. Lawyers acting for the residents have written to the council claiming it would be in breach of its legal obligations if it went ahead and approved the city’s Local Development Plan on Thursday.
They said it must instead wait until June 18 for formal ministerial approval on splitting the new housing requirements between the Capital and neighbouring authorities.
Council sources said there was little doubt the split of the housing allocations would be approved, but it had been agreed to postpone the planning committee meeting for a week.
The Evening News revealed on Saturday that the city’s ruling Labour-SNP administration is split on the development plan, with the SNP wanting to scrap the plans for homes at Cammo and other sites in the west of the city.
An SNP group meeting yesterday rejected a Labour compromise which, it is understood, would allow the plan, as recommended by officials, to be adopted pending further discussions.
With the postponement of the planning committee, crisis talks between the coalition partners have been put off till next week.
The Cammo threat of legal action also claims there is a fundamental flaw in the council’s handling of the plan because it failed to carry out a comparative analysis of which sites were least sensitive in green-belt terms.
The residents say Cammo is a “highly sensitive” green belt site next to Cammo Country Park and is important in securing the landscape setting of the city. The council firmly rejects the claim that all the required housing could be found from brownfield sites.
Sources indicated there would be no concession on the Cammo claims about a flawed process, leaving the residents with the option of mounting a challenge in court after the plan has finally been adopted.
Labour’s planning convener, Ian Perry, said: “The process involved in creating a new Local Development Plan is a lengthy one. The Scottish Government, local community groups and developers have all encouraged us to speed up the process at every stage. This is why we set the date to consider the plan at the earliest opportunity, which would be before the Scottish Government’s decision.
“We are and remain confident that the amount of housing land we have proposed in the plan will be acceptable to the Scottish Government.”