Comment: The city can grow in a more planned way

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There is a reason why the pressure for Edinburgh’s urban sprawl to spread west beyond the bypass has been resisted for so long.

The Capital is a relatively compact and green city where it is impossible to travel far without coming across a beautiful park or open fields. No-one wants to lose that and the green belt has for many years helped preserve that by forcing developers to build on brownfield sites instead. As a result, the population of areas such as Gorgie and Leith has mushroomed.

But now, with the exception of the Waterfront, most of this old industrial land has gone, and there is nowhere near enough of it left to meet the Scottish Government’s demand for new homes.

Insisting on building on every spare scrap of land within the city boundary will have unintended consequences. There is a strong feeling in many communities that the level of building being proposed will spoil their neighbourhoods forever, robbing them of treasured green spaces near their homes and flooding local roads with extra traffic.

No-one relishes building on the green belt, but developing to the west of the city bypass will ease the pressure to build so intensively in many other corners of Edinburgh.

It offers the opportunity for the city to grow in a more planned way. Building a new community from scratch instead of flooding existing ones means appropriate infrastructure can be built as you go rather than flooding existing neighbourhoods.

It also makes sense to build close to the end of the tram line as many of the new residents might be tempted to catch it into work or to the shops rather than clogging the roads in their cars.

Without the same pressure to pack lots of new homes into neighbourhoods such as Currie, Gilmerton and Brunstane perhaps new parks or nature reserves could be included in development plans for these areas.