OUTRAGed residents are forming a campaign group to fight a housing project planned for a swathe of green belt land.
Disgusted at plans they claim will overrun Cammo with new-build homes and push its already traffic-clogged road arteries to bursting point, they have decided to take matters into their own hands and do something about it.
With land-compromised Edinburgh desperately short of housing it is an example of people power set to become commonplace over the next few years.
One resident told the News: “We have a strong belief they should be told ‘keep your hands off the green belt’. That’s one of the things that makes Edinburgh city the beautiful place that it is.”
The group will be officially formed next month – but already members of three community councils – Drum Brae, Corstorphine, and Cramond and Barnton – are believed to have indicated they want to be represented on the body.
News it is being launched comes as developers Cramond and Harthill Estate submit their pre-application report outlining their masterplan to build hundreds of homes on Cammo Estate, Maybury Road.
Green belt land at Maybury and Cammo – close to Edinburgh Airport – have been earmarked for up to 2000 new homes in the city council’s draft Local Development Plan (LDP).
The council has since been asked to find room for almost an extra 8000 homes to meet aggressive Scottish Government targets.
About 30,000 new properties must be built in the Capital by 2024. Edinburgh has been told to deliver its share of an overall 107,500 new-builds required for south-east Scotland.
However Cammo Residents Association committee member Iain Moffatt said building thousands of homes on the green belt did not make any sense.
He said: “The whole of this area is overburdened with traffic and if they stick any more houses out here it’s just going to get worse, combined with the fact the new Forth crossing is coming in and that’ll shovel even more traffic into the system. The green belt is always a concern in that potentially it’s easy pickings for developers. The big concern a lot of us have is that there’s lots of brownfield sites within the city that are just not being used.”
He believes developers should have to exhaust brownfield sites before green spots are looked at.
Corstorphine Community Council chairman David Salton said the group’s main concern was the extra traffic that would be funnelled along an already congested Maybury Road. “Why not have a look at Edinburgh Park instead?” he said.
Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir, who is backing the lobby group, said he had received more than 800 letters of objection after dropping 2500 fliers to residents.
He has demanded a traffic study for Edinburgh’s west, claiming main roads in that part of the city could never cope with thousands more homes without major upgrades.
“We have the community on side,” he said. “It’s obviously a little bit awkward to deal with objections because Cammo is right on the boundaries of three community council areas, which is why this united group will help.
“Any other tenants’ association that we missed and who would like to be involved are more than welcome. We are going to fight this. The infrastructure is not there.”
Planning committee member and Green Councillor Nigel Bagshaw said of the campaign group: “It’s always a good idea for local groups to band together, otherwise their voice does get split and it doesn’t get heard properly.”
The council has received 2226 submissions over its LDP – the majority opposing proposals to allow housing on green belt sites.
City planning convener Cllr Ian Perry said all of the responses would be considered before any final decisions are made.
All of the potential new green belt sites to be reclassified for development will not be known until June next year at the earliest.
Cllr Perry said: “One of the challenges facing the council is to balance the need for growth with the protection of our green spaces. We have already identified brownfield sites that can accommodate about 89 per cent of the total number of homes expected to be built. We must look at ways to bring forward development on these sites, but unfortunately this will not be enough.
“Some greenfield sites will have to be identified for development in order to achieve the amount of housing required by the government as part of their growth plan for the city.”
Edinburgh-based architects Halliday Fraser Munro, which is drawing up plans for Cammo Estate, declined to comment.