Currie and Juniper Green threatened by development

The proposed development site. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The proposed development site. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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TWO of the Capital’s most historic villages are at risk of being “swallowed up” by a major housing development on green belt land, residents have warned.

Fears that Currie and Juniper Green could be swamped by urban sprawl were raised after construction giant Taylor Wimpey lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government against a decision by city planning chiefs to reject proposals for a development at Muir Wood Field.

Critics today warned a decision in favour of the company would lead to green space being “carpeted” with houses and destroy the boundary between the two districts.

Former architect Archie Clark, a Currie resident for over 40 years, said: “The villages of Currie and Juniper Green have their own distinctive character but this proposal means they would merge. Their individual identities would be lost for good.”

Under the plans, 90 new homes would be built at Muir Wood Field, with construction starting in 2014 and phased over four years.

The plans were rejected in October last year after council chiefs found they would advance “the physical and visual coalescence of Currie and Juniper Green”.

Graham Dane, 62, a Currie resident and chair of the district’s community council, said: “People here are really angry.

“It will mean urban sprawl joins up Currie and Juniper Green and it’s a major breach of the city’s green belt, which has protected Edinburgh by forcing developers to build on brownfield sites.

“There are plenty of brown- field sites within Currie itself – why do they have to build on the green belt?”

Juniper Green resident Eric White, 81, said: “Most people here want to keep the gap between Currie and Juniper Green, and the field is also thought to be a wildlife corridor for birds flying over.

“It would be a huge shame if Juniper Green was swallowed up by this.”

But the fears were rejected by Taylor Wimpey bosses.

Paul Hughes, the company’s strategic land manager, said: “We believe our proposal for Muir Wood Road in Currie is deliverable in the short term and would help to reduce the deficit in private and affordable homes across the area.

“In response to the pre-planning application consultation process regarding the scale of the development and the perceived coalescence of Currie and Juniper Green, our proposals have been significantly scaled down to allow for the retention of a ‘green wedge’ between the communities.”