Park campaigners in bid to veto housing plans

Curriemuirend Park in Juniper Green. Picture: Toby Williams
Curriemuirend Park in Juniper Green. Picture: Toby Williams
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CAMPAIGNERS have launched a last-ditch bid to derail plans to build up to 180 homes on parkland.

Curriemuirend Park in Juniper Green has been earmarked for housing under the Capital’s local development plan (LDP), which designates land for retail, housebuilding and industry.

When it was first mooted last year, more than 480 objections were lodged against the decision.

But now the city has revealed any concerns to proposed development must be resubmitted, which is fuelling frustration among campaigners who previously challenged the move.

Residents argue Curriemuirend Park is a vital oasis in an area of the city that falls short of the council’s own green space targets.

Jim Ferguson, chairman of the Friends of Curriemuirend Park, said members had found it “extremely difficult” to retrieve the information they wanted about plans for the parkland.

He said: “We are losing very valuable green open space – and once we lose green open space we can never get it back.

“All we are trying to do is give information to the public as we feel the representation forms are anything but easy to fill in.

“The plans are contained within a 144-page document and we are mentioned on half a page and then in four lines.”

The new LDP was approved in June and objections will be formally heard from August 22 until October 3.

Richard Watt, secretary of Juniper Green Community Council, said he was “absolutely behind” the campaign.

He said: “We made considerable representations to the previous LDP, but now it all has to be redone so we are encouraging local people to make fresh representations.”

“This particular area is a park. According to the council’s own policy on open spaces, no residents should be further than a certain distance from them.

“If it is removed then Baberton Mains and Juniper Green will have no easy access to a park.

“And while there are a number of brownfield sites not being built on, to build on green land is really something that should not happen.”

Mr Watt also condemned as “completely crazy” council proposals to narrow Wester Hailes Road from a two-lane dual carriageway to a single lane road as part of the plans.

A summit to discuss the parkland plans is due to be held by Juniper Green Community Council and The Friends of Curriemuirend Park tomorrow at 7.30pm at Juniper Green village hall.

But planning convener Councillor Ian Perry said growing demand for new homes left the city with difficult choices.

He said: “Releasing land in the green belt is always going to be contentious and I understand the concerns that communities have when they are faced with such proposals.

“However, we have no choice but to make these tough decisions.”