Houses to be built on fly-tipping site near Rosewell
A disused yard which has become a fly-tipping hotspot has been given the go ahead for housing despite warnings it could pose “a very high risk” to the health of future residents.
An application for planning permission in principle for up to eight houses at Barley Dean, near Rosewell, was initially rejected by Midlothian planners after environmental health officers raised serious concerns about contamination on the ground.
But a meeting of the council’s local review body this week overturned the decision after being told the safety of the ground would be investigated before any detailed plans were approved.
The review body heard that in an unusual step environmental health officers had insisted a site investigation report into possible contamination on the land was carried out before planning permission in principle was approved.
They had raised concerns about previous uses of the yard including as a coal quarry, possible asbestos in disused buildings on the site, reports of unknown materials being used to fill in the quarry and spillage of fuels on the land.
In a submission to planners, environmental health officers said: “It it is likely that contamination is present on the site at such levels that it would pose a very high risk to the health of any future residents”.
However the agent for the applicants, who lives at Highwood House, 115 metres from the site, Bob Tait from Format Design, said that while it was clear the site would need investigated, that work would normally take place after initial planning permission had been granted.
He told the meeting: “It is clearly obvious that we need to make a site investigation because of the history of the site but to put it bluntly the applicants quite frankly don’t have the funding to go down that route at this planning permission in principal stage.
“If planning in principle was approved then they would be happy to go down that route of getting involved with the site investigation.”
Mr Tait said the site had become a dumping ground and the development would be an improvement – bringing sustainable housing to the area.
Councillor Russell Imrie, chairing the review body, said he found the demand for a site investigation prior to planning permission in principal unusual.
And fellow review body member Councillor Derek Milligan questioned what alternatives were available for small holding sites like Barley Dean which became dumping grounds.
Councillor Stuart McKenzie moved the members support the appeal, given it was simply agreeing to the use of the land for housing rather than detailed approval.
Councillor Colin Cassidy backed the motion, adding: “The only thing that will improve this site is some sort of development on it because it is a landfill at the moment that people have been using for fly-tipping.”
The appeal was unanimously approved and planning permission in principle granted.