Garden District plan aims to restore Gogar Burn

An artist's impression of the planned Garden District housing. Picture: contributed
An artist's impression of the planned Garden District housing. Picture: contributed
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IT’S an ambitious project to resurrect a long-forgotten waterway and bring trout and salmon leaping past family homes.

Bosses behind the Garden District development set to transform the west of the city have unveiled radical proposals to restore and open up the neglected Gogar Burn.

Blueprints show the stream, which became an underground culvert when Edinburgh Park was created in the 1990s, diverted into the open for the first time in decades – forming a wildlife-rich centrepiece to a new estate.

The move is part of the first phase of a £1 billion masterplan from Murray Estates – former Rangers boss Sir David Murray’s development firm – that could eventually see up to 6000 homes built in the west of Edinburgh. Phase one of the so-called Garden District would see 1350 homes and a new primary school built on land beside the RBS headquarters, with detailed proposals expected to go before councillors in the next few months.

A 12-acre parkland will slice through the scheme, with the resurrected Gogar Burn – which currently runs in a semi-stagnant passage beneath the City Bypass – at its heart.

Alison Baker, catchment manager for the River Forth Fisheries Trust, which worked with SEPA and Murray Estates to draw up the plans, said the new channel would provide a “significant ecological boost” to the area.

And she insisted its restoration would allow “iconic species such as brown trout to migrate freely throughout much of the burn and re-establish populations”.

But Green figures have previously slammed the wider Garden District proposals as an attempt to “raid” the green belt.

Jestyn Davies, managing director of developer Murray Estates, said the company was “keen to make a very clear environmental statement about what we see as a world class extension to the nation’s capital”.

He said: “This partnership will help restore the Gogar Burn, but it will also be a central feature of a major new linear park that will run through the centre of a new community in the west of the city. We are deliberately creating a new kind of community in which we make it much easier for people to live active and healthy lifestyles in one of the most sustainable sites in Scotland.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com