Battling Edinburgh residents demand to know why green space is still allocated for new homes

High-rise residents who fought to prevent a housing development on their green space have voiced concern because the land is still earmarked for new homes despite the fact they are in talks with the council.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 4:55 am

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The land at Moredunvale, where some residents camped out last year to stop contractors drilling, is included in the draft City Plan 2030 as greenfield land allocated for housing.

Robyn Kane, chair of Moredun multis and maisonettes residents’ association, said the green space was well cared for by residents and well-used, especially during the Covid pandemic.

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Residents camped out on the green for days in last year's protest

But she told the planning committee: “Unfortunately, as it stands, the Moredunvale green space is still included n the current plan and, as far as we are aware, it will stay in the plan for future home development despite the fact we're currently in talks with the council on how to better the green space without the building of 188 homes that were proposed and fought against last year during the first lockdown.”

She said the site had been included in the 2016 local development plan, but asked why it was still in when there had been protests last year and a three-stage consultation had begun before being paused due to Covid.

The plan talks of housing being developed on “approximately half the site”.

Ms Kane said: “If this were to go ahead, you would be removing a playpark for children, a decent sized field for fun days held by Goodtrees community centre, churches and ourselves.

“This space is well loved and looked after by residents and a vital asset to the community.

"People sunbathe on it, walk their dogs on it, take their kids out to play football on it – it's a very well used area.”

Ms Kane said more housing would mean local schools, dentists and doctors’ surgeries would be overrun.

“Moredun is the third highest poverty-ridden area in Edinburgh,” she said.

"The current homes need to be brought up to better standards for the residents already living here.

“The high rises include condemned windows, old immersion heaters that constantly break down and bad insulation, to name a few things.

“We in Moredun feel we have been forgotten by the council and our human rights don’t matter.

"Please repair the relationships and the homes instead of building new ones that will ultimately overrun our services.”

Kate Hopper, project manager for the City Plan, told the committee the allocation of the site for housing had been carried over from the 2016 plan. She said the legal advice was because the council had not consulted on de-allocating it, and removing it now would involve a “significant risk” of undermining the entire plan.

Peter Watton, the council’s director of sustainability, said despite being earmarked for housing in the plan, the land was owned by the council.

“Therefore it’s still in the council’s gift whether it is developed or not,” he said. “Plans for proposed development have been paused.”

And he said a consultation was about to begin with the community about major investment in the tower blocks ad the surrounding environment.

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