New life for factory site as housing plans win approval

PLANS for more than 400 homes on the site of a former factory in South Queensferry have been given the green light.

By David O’Leary
Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 1:00 pm

The former Agilent Technologies site has lain empty since the business moved to smaller premises in 2010, shedding 200 jobs in the process.

However, planning permission has now been granted in principle for 450 residential units and 1400 square metres of commercial floorspace at the Scotstoun Avenue/Ashburnham Loan site and the company is now seeking a developer to take on the scheme.

The plans, which include affordable units and a mix of detached, semi-detached, terraced and flatted properties, have been welcomed by Queensferry Community Council, which believes that the development will help boost the local economy.

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Community council secretary Terry Airlie said: “We have been quite happy to back this development as we feel it will be good for the area.

“Our only main concern was that there was not as much commercial floorspace as we would like; to allow local businesses to move in, however, we have been assured that in the current climate and market the stated amount will suffice.

“We’ve been kept in the loop all along by Agilent even though they have long vacated the site and now look forward to seeing these plans taken forward.”

Heritage body the Cockburn Association also backed the proposals but raised concerns about retaining space between South Queensferry and nearby Dalmeny.

Jon Grounsell, convener of the association’s cases committee, said: “Our main concern with the proposed application layout is for the separate and distinct identity of Dalmeny village.

“There is a very grave danger that South Queensferry and Dalmeny will appear to have coalesced if development proceeds as envisaged.”

However, in recommending approval council planners said that the main east coast railway line remained a physical barrier between Dalmeny and South Queensferry which would “retain a strong visual boundary”. They added that creating strong pedestrian links between Scotstoun and Dalmeny Station and Queensferry High School was a key part of making the site work.

Agilent Technologies which still employs 200 people at Edinburgh Park, has now enlisted Capital property agents Cushman & Wakefield, to find a developer keen to build the development.

Cushman & Wakefield associate Angela Lowe said: “We are glad the council has given the green light to these plans and are now in the process of selling the site.

“So far it has received a lot of interest and though we cannot be definite, we don’t envision too many problems in finding a buyer.”