Edinburgh businessman angry over home for wheelchair user

A businessman whose plans to build a garden home for a wheelchair user were thwarted by planning officials is fighting the decision, arguing councillors spent just five seconds on his application – but 45 minutes debating a tree preservation order.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:50 pm

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Lee Miller, of Craiglockhart Gardens, wants to build a two-bedroom annex in the garden of no.2 Mortonhall Park Terrace, on the corner of Mortonhall Park Drive.

It would provide an accessible house for a wheelchair user and a resident carer, according to the planning application submitted in April, which said: “The owner wants to build the house for himself for a permanent residence which will be close to his family.”

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Mr Miller was angered at decision over application at his home

The home would include an open plan living/dining/kitchen area with direct level access to a garden, and would also have a ‘wet room’ bathroom suitable for someone in a wheelchair.

Edinburgh City Council received 16 objections and 21 letters of support from neighbours.

Officials recommended the plans be refused, saying: “The proposal in form, scale, proportions and position is incongruous to its surroundings and will have a significantly detrimental impact on the established townscape character.” they also highlighted a loss of “corner plot green space.”

More than 20 neighbours had backed plans for disabled use

At a meeting in July councillors agreed with the officials’ report and refused the application.

Now, Mr Miller has appealed to the Scottish Government, saying the council’s planning department ‘failed to consider the merits of the proposal’, and also ‘failed to recognise the benefit from having a home fit for the needs of the applicant’.

An appeal statement, submitted on Mr Miller’s behalf by Graeme Arnet, reads: “It is considered the council did not fully assess the application within the context of an existing development.

“This was reinforced by observing the committee dismiss the application in five seconds while a tree preservation order was afforded a discussion and debate lasting 45 minutes.

“This would evidence that the committee did not fully review the comprehensive, detailed information in the planning design and access statement that demonstrated the application adhered to the local development plan and design policies the applications was recommended for refusal on.”

A government reporter, acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers, is expected to make a decision on the appeal by December 5.

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