The planning application from Gladman Scotland asked for approval in principle for 170 homes at the site north of Oak Place, despite Midlothian Council’s own Local Development Plan (LDP) setting it aside for just 63 homes.
At a virtual meeting of the council’s planning committee last week, a number of councillors expressed their concern at the increase which they were asked to approve.
Councillor John Hackett (Lab)said: “The LDP has around 60 houses and the original application (which was refused) had more than 190; this nearly trebles it, it is quite a big gap.”
Peter Arnsdorf, development manager, told councillors that he did not expect the number of house on the site to be as high as the planning application set out but, to ensure the council did not lose out on contributions towards school and infrastructure, it was better to err on the higher side.
He said: “I agree the figure seems disparately high, I think we will be looking at somewhere between 100 and 120 units.”
He added that the application was only for planning in principle and details would be brought back to councillors when it sought full planning permission.
Councillor Kelly Parry (SNP), however, said the higher number of houses was concerning. She said: “I appreciate giving them some flexibility but 300 per cent flexibility is too much for me. In my experience, I find when full planning does come back it has tended to exceed the estimated.”
Pplanning convenor Councillor Russell Imrie (Lab) told councillors that the site in question was “a ginormous site”.
The 9.64-hectare site takes in land on the LDP for 63 houses, along with an additional 11 per cent of the land outwith the LDP boundary.
Mr Arnsdorf told councillors that the original number of houses identified in the LDP took into account the fact part of the site “goes up a hill”.
Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council lodged an objection to the application as “over development” and a further eight representations were received.
Despite their concerns, councillors agreed to support the officers’ recommendation to approve planning permission in principle for 170 homes at Oak Place, Mayfield.