Bid for 78 houses at caravan sales site
A bid to turn a former caravan sales site into housing would lead to an unacceptable loss of trees and go against council policy, Midlothian planners have said.
Plans for 78 new homes at the former Scotts Touring Caravans site in Mayfield, Dalkeith, have been lodged by applicants Online Mayfield Scotland LLP.
However a report to Midlothian Council’s planning committee next week will recommend the plans are rejected amid claims the loss of trees on the site would be ‘significant’ and that the applicants were unwilling to make developer contributions towards the impact of the new homes in surrounding infrastructure.
The report says the application was for ‘windfall housing’ which means it is not on land identified in the council’s Local Development Plan for housing.
But it says there is no justification to allow it as there is no shortfall of land supply in the current plan.
And it says the applicants have said that if they had to pay developer contributions which are used by the local authority to cover impact on local schools, roads and other services, then the site would not be viable.
The report said: “At the point of drafting the report the applicants were not prepared to make the required developer contributions to mitigate the impact of development – this is critical, and any shortfall in developer contributions, if planning permission is granted, effectively is subsidised by the council.”
They also raise concerns about around 125 trees on the site.
In their design statemenet the applicants said any loss of trees would be kept to a minimum.
They said: “It is in the best interests of the site’s natural biodiversity to maintain some of the maturing and significant trees on the site.
“Most of these trees however are now approaching the end of their lives and so while the indicative proposals aim to include and retain these, it is considered prudent given the nature of the proposed development, to remove a number of these trees and provide new specimens elsewhere on the site.”
The report will go before next Tuesday’s planning committee for a decision.