Readers' letters: Don’t place obstacles in the way of sustainable development plans

It is hugely encouraging, especially given the importance of building a sustainable economic recovery for Edinburgh post-Covid, that at long last councillors will have a chance to discuss the City Choices 2030 Plan next week which will shape the Local Development Plan for Edinburgh for many years ahead.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 7:00 am
An artist’s impression of the plans for the Crosswinds site

Your story “Battle looms over Edinburgh’s greenbelt as city leaders decide how to meet Capital’s housing needs ” (20 September) demonstrated the genuine concern of representatives about the challenges that come in meeting the city’s future housing needs. But is the current approach missing a trick that could help achieve the city’s goals much more quickly?

The City Choices plan identifies just two large brownfield sites – Seafield in the east and our Crosswind site in the west which is called Elements Edinburgh.

As Green planning spokesman Councillor Chas Booth said in the article, the focus must be on building affordable housing on brownfield sites with “buildings that are super-energy efficient, communities built with walking, cycling and public transport at the core, and we must prepare for the increased flooding and weather events that climate change will bring”. I couldn’t agree more.

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Just over a year ago, we submitted a net-zero plan to regenerate a large brownfield site in Edinburgh, build 2500 super-energy efficient homes exceeding current standards, develop a network of integrated active travel pathways that prioritise walking and cycling over vehicles, create significant new green space enhancing current bio-diversity and building raingardens to help tackle more extreme weather events.

Ours is a sustainable and inclusive development designed to align to Scottish Government’s emerging desired outcomes but the council’s officers were not willing to take that into account given that we didn’t fit with the outdated and outgoing Local Development Plan.

Our application will now be decided by Scottish ministers but we could be a year further down the road to helping achieve some of those City Choices goals using brownfield land had there been a little more flexibility and ambition.

As the city reaches this important milestone, I believe they must also urgently consider how to commit to faster outcomes and work more collaboratively with others, recognising the effort of those whose genuine aims are progressive and aligned to the needs of a modern civic society.

John Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Crosswind Developments Ltd

Traffic turmoil at Newbridge hold-up

On Monday my husband and I got on a number 63 bus in Kirkliston to go to the Gyle Centre. It was a nightmare journey that took an hour and a half to get to the Newbridge roundabout a - trip that should take only about 10 minutes.

Apparently the M8 was closed because of an accident and an oil spillage. There were no police there to clear the traffic and get it moving again.There were so many idiots blocking the roundabout exits, mostly lorry drivers, who are supposed to be professional drivers. People would have missed flights - an absolute disgrace that the police weren’t there to get the traffic cleared.

We eventually got into the Gyle at noon, nearly two hours after leaving the house. We had an appointment in town but I had to phone them to cancel it. That road blockage would have ruined plans for a lot of people, such as hospital appointments but the police don’t care that people are just left to stew. This should not be happening.

Name and address supplied.