Garden District housing plan wins over community councils

Artist's impression of the proposed Garden District.  Picture: EMA Architecture + Design Limited

Artist's impression of the proposed Garden District. Picture: EMA Architecture + Design Limited

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COMMUNITY councils have thrown their weight behind a major housing development planned for greenbelt land on the outskirts of the Capital.

Proposals for the first phase of the so-called Garden District would see 1350 homes built beyond the city bypass in west Edinburgh.

Now Balerno and Cramond and Barnton community councils have both written in support of the scheme, insisting it is “well planned and well integrated”.

They also argue it will help reduce pressure to grant “highly contentious” plans to build houses on Cammo Fields, which residents insist would cause major traffic problems.

The Garden District proposals – which will go before councillors on Monday – became mired in delay last month after a complaint was lodged by the developer.

Blueprints were due to be debated at a meeting of the development management sub-committee but were abruptly withdrawn after bosses claimed a report by council officials contained “clear misinformation”.

Murray Estates – owned by former Rangers chairman Sir David Murray – has now withdrawn its criticism following discussions with the council.

City officials have also removed a contentious part of their previous report that stated the site was outwith the West Edinburgh strategic development area – the area prioritised for development in the South East Scotland masterplan.

Balerno and Cramond and Barnton community councils both argue the scheme boasts good existing infrastructure and transport links – allowing for an integrated approach that numerous smaller developments would lack. But council officials have recommended the proposals be rejected, insisting the development “is significantly contrary to the development plan, particularly in respect of green belt”.

Andrew Mather, chair of Cramond and Barnton Community Council, said he “didn’t understand” the officials’ recommendation for refusal.

He said: “It’s just got much more potential to be a realistic development than some of the smaller ones that are being stuck in.”

In total, 41 objections to the proposals have been lodged with planners, including from Currie Community Council.

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said: “Garden District helps the council to address the 4500 home shortfall identified by the Scottish Government, and does so much more as well.

“In addition to helping tackle its housing need, these proposals will also help underpin the council’s ambitions through the Edinburgh City Deal to ‘accelerate growth’ in the nation’s capital.”