Balerno anger as green belt homes approved

Balerno residents are angered plans to build 120 houses on green belt land have been given the go-ahead.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 14th August 2015, 10:59 am
Ken Shade addresses the meeting of residents opposed to the Ravelrig Road development. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ken Shade addresses the meeting of residents opposed to the Ravelrig Road development. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gladman Developments Limited has been successful with its appeal to the Scottish Government against the refusal of a planning application by Edinburgh City Council, lodged last year, to build more than 100 new homes on Ravelrig Road.

Last night, members of Balerno Community Council and the Balerno Green Belt Resident Action Group gathered in the village high school to discuss the housing plans, and to find a solution to stop the developers in their tracks.

Ken Shade, of Balerno Community Council, said: “Hundreds of residents are furious about this. A few years ago one resident applied to build four houses on the green belt and he was refused, so I don’t understand how 120 houses can be approved.

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“The residents in this village feel like they are being punished by the government because Edinburgh City Council have not kept their local plans up to date. They have left the door wide open for developers just to come in.”

The green belt on the outskirts of Balerno – that wraps around the village – is a feature that residents believe makes their village “unique” compared with others.

They regard their village as a rural settlement and believe if the new homes are built, the tranquillity of their homeland will be taken away, according to Mr Shade.

The community council wants Edinburgh City Council to proceed with a judicial review.

And it is calling on the Scottish Government to revise its decision of overturning to refusal, which would allow sufficient time for the city council to proceed with the ongoing local planning process.

Mr Shade added: “We believe green belt areas should be decided upon via the normal planning process.

“This did not go through the normal planning process – it went through the department of environmental appeals and basically one person has decided that 120 houses should be built on the green belt.

“We are not opposed to new housing developments; we are just opposed to them being built on this specific piece of land.”

MSP Gordon MacDonald, of the SNP, is also opposed to the new development plans because he believes there is a lack of infrastructure in the area.

At peak times in particular, he believes there is not enough space on the roads for more traffic, and believes that local primary schools in the area are reaching their maximum capacity of pupils.

He also expressed his concern for the air quality in the locality.

He said: “There have been five different areas around Balerno that have been allocated for new housing.

“There is a need for housing in Edinburgh but not in this particular area.

“We couldn’t cope with any more traffic in this area at peak times.”

A spokesman for Gladman said: “We don’t comment on live applications.”