Edinburgh council planners ‘failing to protect city’s skyline’

Residents of Pinkhill Park protest against new development'Chairman Paul Robertson and Vice Chairman David Syme
Residents of Pinkhill Park protest against new development'Chairman Paul Robertson and Vice Chairman David Syme
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Residents concerned about a proposed six-storey development in Corstorphine have accused the council of failing to follow their own guidelines to protect the skyline.

Protesters say the city’s planning chiefs are not putting enough pressure on developers to comply with their own recommendations on the height and density of new buildings.

The council’s design guidance says developments that are clearly higher than their neighbours should be avoided but Corstorphine residents claim this advice has been ignored by Dandara, which has submitted an application to build a six-storey tower block at Pinkhill.

John Kerr of Pinkhill Park Residents Association said: “Planning in Edinburgh is providing no leadership in looking after the skyline of our beautiful city. They are allowing greedy developers to dictate the form, density and height of gap site building proposals which will dominate city landscapes.

“A good example is the high rise development at Pinkhill to replace an existing three-storey office with 75 apartments. The planning department failed to impose their very own building design standards on the developer Dandara and allowed them to submit plans for a six-storey monstrosity. All other recent similar developments within a radius of two miles are no more than two, three or four storeys.

“This absurd proposal at Pinkhill is creating a dangerous precedent which will push the Edinburgh skyline upwards across the city.”

Councillor Gillian Goyer objected to the application. She said: “There is a worrying precedent which a development of this height would set for future planning proposals in my ward and elsewhere in suburban Edinburgh.

“However, I’m not convinced that the planning officers have behaved improperly in this case. I don’t sit on the planning committee but it does seem to me that planning law is weighted in favour of developers and I suppose that the officers have merely been applying that law. Obviously this might appear to residents as if the officers themselves are showing bias.”

The council said the 
Edinburgh Design Guidance had been put together to help developers shape proposed projects so that they comply with the statutory Local Development Plan.

Officers said major applications rarely comply fully with planning policies in their first form and that careful deliberation is crucial to reaching a balanced recommendation on a proposal.

Where appropriate, specific requests to amend elements of a scheme are expressed to developers. Ultimately, however, it is for the developer to decide whether to listen to the council’s advice and reflect these comments in the amended scheme.