Edinburgh councillors recommended to reject Gilmerton development

PLANS for a food store, business start-up units, a 60-bed hotel, community hall, medical hub neighbourhood shops and an archery centre at Gilmerton look set to be thrown out by councillors.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 12:37 pm
Applicants Bernard Hunter claim their proposed development would create 270 jobs

Local crane hire and metal recycling firm Bernard Hunter claim their proposals to redevelop their land would create 270 jobs and boost the area.

But the application has been recommended for refusal by council officers, who say it conflicts with planning policies.

The proposals, due to be considered by the development management sub-committee on Wednesday, also include a transport hub at the existing bus terminus on the edge of the site with improved facilities for drivers and passengers.

The scheme also includes a transport hub.

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But the report for Wednesday's meeting says the site is not considered appropriate for the retail element of the scheme, which it claims would have a "significant impact on existing centres".

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Ambitious plans unveiled to develop Gilmerton site and bring 270 new jobs

The report goes on: "While the development would generate economic benefits for the local economy, this is likely to have disbenefits elsewhere.

"The proposal is, in effect, an out of town retail park and is not supported in policy. It is recommended that the application should be refused."

Mark Rafferty, managing director of Bernard Hunter and grandson of the company' s founder, warned if the scheme was rejected and the land was instead used for more housing, the family firm could be forced to leave the area.

He said: "These proposals are the result of careful consideration of how to deliver lasting benefits for Bernard Hunter and the community of Gilmerton, and the represent a win-win for both.

"We have had amazing support from local people and from all our local community representatives. Amazingly not a single resident objected to our proposals and there were over a hundred letters of support.

"Gilmerton is changing, and we know that if our business ends up being completely surrounded by housing we will be forced to move, however unwillingly.

"Our business has been based here since 1972. It would break our hearts if we have to move away. More importantly, it would be an even bigger upheaval for our loyal and skilled workforce.

"We would urge the planning committee to put the long-term interests of Gilmerton and the local community before a desire to deliver more housing. We fully appreciate that Edinburgh need more housing, but from all we’ve been told by local people what Gilmerton needs now is more services.

"Communities need more than homes, and this is a straight choice between yet more homes in the area or more and better community services and jobs."

Ken Baird, of Gilmerton & Inch community council, said there was strong local backing for the proposals because they would bring welcome facilities to the area, including "desperately needed" GP premises, and create permanent jobs.

He said: "The council just seems to want more housing, housing, housing but we don't have the infrastructure to support it.

"The proposals will also have less effect on traffic at peak hours because the traffic patterns will be completely different.

"We have terrible traffic problems already because all the traffic coming into Gilmerton has to go down Drum Street, which is very narrow, and it can back up for a mile."