Greenbelt homes plans lodged with council

PLANS to build more than 1300 homes on greenbelt land separating Edinburgh from Musselburgh have been lodged with the council.

Thursday, 1st September 2016, 10:09 am
Updated Thursday, 1st September 2016, 11:14 am
Protesters Chris Berry, Frank Richardson, Colin Robb and Lyn Williams. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Developer EDI – an arms-length council company – wants to construct 1330 houses, a school and leisure facilities over a 48-hectare site known as Brunstane Farmland.

But community campaigners are gearing up to launch legal action in a bid to halt the proposals – and are now crowdfunding advice from a top QC.

They argue the overarching South-East Scotland Plan (SESplan) “clearly designates” Brunstane Farm as green belt, meaning any development would be “breaking the law”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And they also point out that the council failed to assess the impact of mineshafts in the area in an environmental report – something campaigners insist breaches European and Scottish legislation.

They have engaged a solicitor to represent them and are now seeking between £3500 and £8000 to pay for the advice of a leading QC, in the hope the council removes the site from its city-wide planning blueprint.

Local resident Martin Kelly, 39, said: “Our plan is to get an opinion from a QC saying the council can’t do this. What we really need right now is for a specialist to look at it and give a realistic view of our chances of winning. We are over the £2000 mark after about five days of the 30-day deadline period. We are really pleased with that, and we’ve got good momentum. We want this to be really open, really transparent.”

EDI insist their development would create more than 100 full-time construction jobs and pump £71 million into the regional economy. Their site – dubbed New Brunstane – has been earmarked for housing under the council’s city-wide planning blueprint, or local development plan (LDP). But a leading planning lawyer previously told the Evening News the Brunstane campaigners’ case “sounds as if it’s [one] the court would listen to”.

Murray Shaw, chairman of law firm Gillespie Macandrew, said residents would need to bring their case within six weeks of the LDP being formally adopted – a move expected in November at the latest.

Kuan Loh, of the EDI Group, said: “The submission of the planning application for the New Brunstane masterplan marks an important milestone for EDI, and for the future sustainable growth of Edinburgh.

“As a key strategic site contained in the Local Development Plan, New Brunstane affords close links to Edinburgh’s major areas of employment and nearby settlements.

“The masterplan is sensitively conceived, with new housing in the heart of a parkland setting incorporating a network of clear physical and visual linkages with its surrounding areas. New Brunstane is the ideal development to meet the aspirations of a growing capital city.”

Blueprints show 23 per cent of the development’s total land area maintained as green spaces.