Rejected Balerno housing estate could be overturned by Scottish Government

The would-be developers of a rejected Balerno housing estate have appealed to the Scottish Government – despite their application attracting a huge backlash from Edinburgh residents that sparked more than 600 objections.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 12:30 pm

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George Street-based developers JS & R Mitchell first applied for planning permission for a 350-home housing estate, as well as a community building and health centre, in October last year.

A planning statement, submitted at the time by Cambridgeshire-based consultants Rapleys, said that ‘Edinburgh City Council does not have a demonstrable five-year effective housing land supply’ and that the proposed development would fulfill that need.

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The plans for the huge development were lodged last November.

The statement reads: “This proposal undoubtedly presents an opportunity for new homes to be delivered in the short term, contributing positively to both the market and affordable housing supply in the city of Edinburgh.

“Not only this, but the proposal is supported by an array of additional infrastructure which will support the development and benefit the local community, alongside substantial affordable housing provision in excess of current policy requirements.”

However, the proposals for the site, located just off Ravelrig Road in Balerno, sparked a huge backlash from concerned residents.

Edinburgh City Council planners received 635 objection letters – with residents raising concerns over the loss of greenspace, lack of roads infrastructure, the added pressure on schools and local GP services, and the impact on neighbouring amenity.

Peter Leeming, of Malleny Croft House, wrote: “Local schools and medical services do not have the capacity to serve the proposed development.

“The developer is promising a medical centre, a community centre, etc. These should be provided by the City of Edinburgh Council.”

Bob Purves, of Addison Park, wrote: “I have lived in my present house for over 21 years over which time there has been a significant increase in housing development, stretching from Gillespie Road/Wester Hailes Road junction (Gillespie Crossroads) through Juniper Green, and Currie to within Balerno and its surrounding area.

“The pace of this housing development has increased greatly over the last few years (e.g. at least five in the last five years) that inevitably comes with an increase in car numbers, particularly given the location and types of housing.

“However during this time there has been no meaningful additional infrastructure to support these developments.”

Faye Hogg, of Sommerville Road, added: “I do not think we should be building on our green belt areas.

“These are areas of beauty where an abundance of wildlife live and many visitors come to see and enjoy.

“It is also very clear that Lanark road and Lanark Road West is already extremely congested.

“The recent Scottish Water works showed the impact of this, with long tail-backs, especially as there are not many alternative routes you can take.

“Recently when running along Lanark road west, I had to stop because the fumes were so intoxicating I could not breathe properly.”

At a meeting in May, councillors voted to refuse the application, saying ‘the proposed development is not an allocated site or located within the urban area’ and the housing estate would have an over-reliance on car transport.

JS & R Mitchell has appealed the decision to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Department.

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