Residents vow to fight on despite approval of homes

Cammo Residents Association opposes the plan. Picture: Jane Barlow
Cammo Residents Association opposes the plan. Picture: Jane Barlow
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RESIDENTS campaigning to stop hundreds of new homes being built on their doorstep today vowed to carry on as councillors met to approve a blueprint earmarking sites for development.

Edinburgh’s ruling Labour-SNP coalition was set to push through a compromise deal, backing the recommendations of the Local Development Plan (LDP) but promising a review in February. They also want to take a fresh look at part of Sir David Murray’s Garden District proposal for land at Gogar, which would reduce the need for 850 homes elsewhere in the west of the city.

But Gary Bennett, chairman of the Cammo Residents Association, said he believed the case had been made against the proposal for building up to 700 extra houses in their neighbourhood. And he said: “We will continue to fight to preserve the Cammo fields.”

Queensferry and district community council has lodged a formal objection to the LDP, insisting it does not oppose “considered and measured housing developments” but labelling the plan for up to 1500 new homes in the town as “indiscriminate” and “ill considered”.

Edinburgh’s Tory group was set to oppose the LDP, calling instead for new proposals to be brought forward, siting development firstly on brownfield sites and then along fixed rail transport corridors.

Meanwhile, the council’s handling of the LDP came under fire from SNP MSPs during a debate in the Scottish Parliament. Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir branded the council’s consultation in his area “nothing short of abysmal”.

He said: “There is also a feeling that deals have been done. Local people, particularly in Cammo and Maybury, have no faith in the process, simply because of the dismal way in which the council has handled their objections.

“The Queensferry Road corridor and the Corstorphine Road corridor are some of the most polluted areas in the UK. The transport assessments are, quite frankly, unbelievable. They say they can mitigate against future growth in traffic, when in fact the problem is here, right now.

“Nobody is denying there is a housing shortage in the area, but we cannot just dump houses down and hope that the roads will support the amount of traffic that goes along them.”

And Edinburgh Pentlands SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said councillors needed to say how the road network would cope with further increases in traffic before deciding whether to build in the west of the city.

He said: “We have poor air quality around the four main arterial routes into the west of the city. Of the four routes, Queensferry Road, Glasgow Road and Gorgie Road regularly fail the European Union air quality standard, with Lanark Road recording increasing levels of pollutants. If Edinburgh councillors accept the revised LDP that the officials propose, they could be adding to the problem, with a resultant reduction in quality of life for residents.”

Lothian Tory MSP Cameron Buchanan rejected council claims that the LDP had to be approved or the green belt would be under greater threat. He said: “The residents of Cammo and Edinburgh overall deserve a better choice than either a dud plan or uncontrolled and unfettered development of the green belt.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com