Developers accused of ‘war of attrition’ on greenbelt land at Liberton

AN MP has accused developers of trying to “wear people down” over plans to build new homes on greenbelt land at Liberton.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 5:00 am
Ian Murray MP has vowed to fightt the proposals. Pic: Neil Hanna

Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said Mactaggart & Mickel were consulting on proposals for new housing in fields north of Alnwickhill and to the west of Liberton which are popular with children, dog walkers and joggers.

And although the land is protected in the Local Development Plan (LDP), he said there was a “litany of examples” of the Scottish Government appeals division overruling council decisions and allowing development of the green belt.

Mr Murray said despite strong local opposition and a string of failed planning applications in the past, developers seemed intent on a “war of attrition” with the community in Liberton.

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He said: “This will be the fourth time I have been involved in fighting development of these sites since I was first elected as councillor for the then Alnwickhill ward in 2003 and then as MP for Edinburgh South in 2010.

“These fields are well used by playing children, dog walkers and joggers from Liberton and across the South of Edinburgh and whilst the sites are protected in the council’s LDP, there is nothing stopping developers making application after application, wearing the community down.”

He said apart from losing greenbelt land, residents were also worried about the strain on local infrastructure if a large numbers of new homes were given the go-ahead.

“Liberton Medical Group already operates a restricted list and the long standing issues at Liberton High School are well documented.

“I will continue to stand with the residents, the community council and Liberton Association in opposing any proposals which undermine our precious green space.”

Derek Kennedy, president of the Liberton Association, said there was no planning application yet, but the proposals were of great concern to residents.

“People in Liberton will be very angry about it. We have seen the constant erosion of the green belt over the years, now they are wanting to take huge chunks out of it.”

He said there were several major housing sites nearby recently completed or under construction. “We have given up enough of our green land.”

Craig Ormond, director at Mactaggart & Mickel said: “We are in the very early stages of promoting this land for much needed new housing and will be engaging with the community in due course to ensure their needs are met.

“As an award-winning housebuilder, we understand the need to balance the differing views within communities and to bring forward sustainable proposals which are sympathetic to the area, close to existing infrastructure and schools, allow for growth and provide a range of housing in areas of high demand.”

Mactaggart & Mickel are due to make a presentation on their proposals at Liberton and District Community Council’s meeting on Monday at the Kirk Halls, Liberton.