South Beechwood nursing home approval angers parkland users

Children from the South Beechwood area are set to lose their play area as the nursing home plans for the site get the go-ahead. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Children from the South Beechwood area are set to lose their play area as the nursing home plans for the site get the go-ahead. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a care home on unofficial parkland have been pushed through by the Scottish Government on appeal.

The 63-bed facility is pegged for a two-acre patch of grassland at South Beechwood, just off Corstorphine Road, which has been used as a makeshift playground for nearly 30 years.

Angry residents yesterday said they were “gobsmacked” the proposals had been given the green light, despite being knocked back by the council in August last year.

Alistair Shearer, chair of the South Beechwood Residents’ Association, said locals would be meeting in the next couple of days to discuss the way forward.

He said concerns centred on the loss of open space, traffic congestion and the lack of communication between the developer and residents.

And he insisted there was already a “proliferation” of nursing homes in the surrounding area.

He said: “It just beggars belief that they have got away with it. We are just absolutely gobsmacked.

“The situation we’re facing now is it’s the big guy with all the cash facing the small guys. The residents’ association has maintained the front part of the park for 30 years.

“There’s been no discussion with anyone in the area at all. The site is used – it’s not just sitting there and it’s not waste or feral ground.”

Granting the application on appeal, Scottish Government reporter Don Rankin admitted the proposals did not “accord overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan”.

But he argued pushing them through was “still justified by the economic and community benefit”.

His December 31 decision gives the developer three years to begin work on the three-storey nursing home.

A Care UK spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been granted planning permission for this new care home in Murrayfield and would like to take this opportunity to reassure local residents that we will take all necessary steps to ensure it progresses as smoothly as possible.

“There is currently a shortfall of specialist nursing and dementia care home places in Edinburgh and this new home is a step towards addressing this issue.

“Once complete, the attractive and state-of-the-art home will offer high-quality residential, nursing and dementia care for 63 residents, as well as create 65 full-time equivalent jobs for local people. Our plans also include ensuring at least 25 per cent of the site remains as open space for public use, including creating a children’s play area.

“We’re happy to speak with residents about our proposals and urge them to contact us directly so that we can address any concerns they may have.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk