Garden District plan to go back to council

An artist's impression of the proposed Garden District.

Picture: contributed

An artist's impression of the proposed Garden District. Picture: contributed

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A MAJOR housing development set to transform greenbelt land on the outskirts of the Capital will go back before the council later this month.

Plans for the first phase of the so-called Garden District would see 1350 homes built beyond the City Bypass in west Edinburgh.

The proposals were due to be debated at a meeting of the development management sub-committee last month – but were abruptly withdrawn because of a complaint lodged by the developer.

Murray Estates – owned by former Rangers chairman Sir David Murray – made an official complaint over “clear misinformation” in a report by officials which recommended refusal, branding it “fiction”.

The report was then pulled to allow the council’s monitoring officer to carry out an investigation.

But developers have since withdrawn their criticism following discussions with the council, allowing the blueprints to go back before planning chiefs on May 16. Councillors will make their final decision on the plans, which would also include green space equivalent to double the size of Princes Street Gardens, at a full council meeting on June 2.

The council confirmed the original officials’ report will be rewritten with “minor alterations” before it goes back before councillors.

The document previously said the site was not included in the west Edinburgh strategic development area – the area prioritised for development in the South East Scotland masterplan. But a council motion voted through last year, and currently with the Scottish Government for a decision, said the council “sees merit” in earmarking the land for housing.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP candidate for Lothian, said alterations did not change the “fundamentals” of the application.

She said: “This is simply more suburban sprawl, eating away at the green belt and no amount of sticking nice adjectives like ‘garden’ in front of it changes that.”

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said he was “delighted” the council had agreed a new hearing date, adding: “From the very beginning of preparing proposals for this major investment in Edinburgh, our only aim has been to secure the fair consideration of our proposals.”

Councillor Ian Perry, convener of the planning committee, said: “I am pleased that, following constructive discussions with the council, Murray Estates withdrew their formal complaint and their Gogar Station Road application will now be debated at the May 16 committee before the council makes its final decision on June 2.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk