Residents will object to plan for new 200-home village

Picture: submitted

Picture: submitted

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RESIDENTS are gearing up to fight the latest controversial proposal to build a new “village” in the Capital’s green belt.

Developers have unveiled plans for 200 homes and 200 student flats on a 12-hectare site near Heriot-Watt University at Riccarton. The development would also include a community centre, small supermarket and GP surgery.

Picture: submitted

Picture: submitted

But locals fear it will mean more traffic clogging already-busy roads and question the need for more student accommodation.

Allister McKillop, chair of Currie Community Council, said they would be objecting to the application, by livestock auctioneers H&H, which owns the land.

He said: “Heriot-Watt is expanding hugely, building a hotel and student accommodation. We don’t see any reason for yet more student accommodation.

“This is green belt which we would like to protect. We feel we are being swamped in this area with the amount of housing going in.”

And he said there was “huge concern” about traffic. “The infrastructure is creaking to a halt. The rush hour starts earlier and earlier and goes on later and later. Between 7am-10am it’s just horrendous, nose to tail, and we’re obviously concerned about air quality.

“We would be happy to see proper affordable housing, but we ought to have the infrastructure in place first. We should get that sorted out, then build the houses.”

H&H says the site is close to existing bus and rail services, which should reduce the impact on local roads.

But Mr McKillop said: “We’ve heard these arguments so often, saying there is good public transport, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t happen like that. People use cars – otherwise why do they build houses with space for two cars? Let them build the houses without any space for cars and see how they sell.”

Separate plans for a 1500-home village with shops and a primary school have been put forward by Wallace Land for a neighbouring site.

Conservative councillor Jason Rust, convener of Pentlands neighbourhood partnership, said the overall effect of multiple proposed developments in the south-west of the city had to be borne in mind.

He said: “I fully recognise the need for affordable housing in Edinburgh, given all the pressures which exist. But the fact this is in the green belt is critical and we will have to look in detail at what is being put forward.”

He added that the infrastructure issues would have to be taken on board before the plans went ahead.

And he noted this was only the latest development proposed for the area. “Each planning application will be considered on its own merits, but there does need to be consideration of the cumulative effect.”

A spokesman for H&H said the development would help meet a housing shortfall of more than 10,000 units by 2024 and was expected to generate 130 vehicle trips at peak periods, which he said was less than a five per cent rise in traffic.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com