Plan for major housing development in Edinburgh's Mortonhall sees more than 140 objections in 24 hours

The proposed housing development on Edinburgh’s southern edge is facing a growing backlash.
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Plans for a major housing development on Edinburgh's southern edge have sparked more than 140 objections in just 24 hours.

It comes after Barratt and David Wilson Homes (BDW) consulted on proposals for new homes, retail and commercial space at a site on Frogston Road East near Mortonhall. It is the third time the developers have consulted on such proposals, with previous efforts to build houses on the site ditched in 2019 and 2020 after local outcry.

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The development would see up to 400 new homes built on the site, along with 950 square meters of commercial space. A quarter of the community ‘hub’ would be available for shops, with the remainder for business use and for a café/restaurant.

Plans for major development at greenbelt land on Frogston Road have sparked nearly 150 objections in just 24 hours.Plans for major development at greenbelt land on Frogston Road have sparked nearly 150 objections in just 24 hours.
Plans for major development at greenbelt land on Frogston Road have sparked nearly 150 objections in just 24 hours.

The firm behind the plans says the development will help to solve the city's housing crisis and create jobs. Bosses have also outlined plans to plant trees and create a transport hub supporting active travel infrastructure.

Scores have hit out at the plans for a major development on greenbelt land, much of it owned locally by The Catchelraw Trust. On Tuesday, April 3, 150 comments on the plans had been submitted to the council planning portal, including 146 objections and only 4 in support.

Residents and the Fairmilehead Community Council insist the plans would put pressure on already-stretched and ‘broken’ public services. Nearby Frogston Primary School is set to be expanded due to an increase in pupil numbers, while developers admit that school places are ‘inadequate’ for a development this size.

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Locals are said to be struggling to access GPs and dentists, with local MP Ian Murray reporting 20,000 can’t even register with a GP.

More than 700 people have now signed a petition against the development. It reads: “There are many ways in which this land can be used to benefit the existing community and set a precedent for future developers, who think that they can erode our green space for profit. This is a time for the innovators in planning and development to step forward, so that we don't leave behind a legacy of shame for generations to come. Please remember that when the Greenbelt land is built upon, it is gone forever.”

Transport convener Councillor Scott Arthur has added his voice to opposition. He said on X “The Council has not allocated this field for development as it is not needed to meet housing demand. Additionally, the local infrastructure is not in place to support a development of this scale. No school places, no GP capacity and no access to dental treatment.”

Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray has spoken out against the plans. He told the Evening News: “This development would put further pressure on already broken public services and infrastructure for new and existing residents. It’s clear that local residents are concerned about that.

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“I have had a huge amount of correspondence from constituents concerned about public services as 20,000 cannot even register with a GP and the application itself admits school places are inadequate for a development this size.

“We are facing a housing emergency and we do need new housing must be prioritised, as the council has approved, on brownfield sites and with proper services and infrastructure for new and existing residents. We desperately need a Scottish Government that will take the state of our GPs, primary schools and roads seriously.”

A spokesperson for BDW said: "We appreciate the concerns raised by some residents regarding the planning application. However, this development will provide a community hub and essential new high-quality homes, including affordable homes, offering a wide range of sizes and types to meet the housing need in the area.

“The proposed development aims to reduce dependency on private vehicles by including a mobility hub and integrating a variety of transport services and facilities - creating a healthier, more sustainable environment, with dedicated walking and cycling routes. This would be complemented by landscape planting and the creation of diverse open spaces which nurture biodiversity.

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“Throughout this process we have worked hard to listen to locals and continued to engage with City of Edinburgh Council, incorporating changes to the proposal that will benefit the whole of the community.”

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