Edinburgh council denied right to decide on controversial plan for 500 homes at Cammo after developer appeals to government

A decision on controversial proposals for 500 new homes on the greenbelt at Cammo has been taken out of the hands of councillors after the developers made a last-minute appeal to the Scottish Government.

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The council’s planning officers recommended the application should be refused because it went against planning policies.

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And the development management sub-committee was due to decide the matter on Wednesday after a hearing to allow both the developers and objectors to put their case.

Kevin Lang and colleagues protesting in September 2021 over proposals for 500 new homes on greenbelt land at Cammo

But after the recommendation was made public last week the developers lodged their appeal, claiming the council had taken too long to decide, which means the matter will now be considered by a government planning reporter.

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Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang, who has campaigned against the new homes plan, said: “I find it incredible that on the eve of the committee making a decision the developers have appeal this to the Scottish Government. I think it says a lot about the confidence they’ve got in their own case that they have decided to bypass local democracy and take the matter to the government.

“The proposals are an unacceptable assault on our greenbelt. The council officers’ recommendation was clear that it was a breach of greenbelt policy and it will be very important the Scottish Government uphold that policy, otherwise we risk having open season for developers when it comes to building on our greenbelt land.”

The sub-committee went ahead with the hearing so the council could adopt a position on the proposals – and agreed unanimously with the officers’ recommendation that they should be rejected.

Peter Scott, planning representative for Cramond and Barnton community council, told the meeting they welcomed the officers’ recommendation for refusal of the application but were disappointed the application would not be determined by the council.

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He continued: “Our communities consider enough is enough. Over 2,500 houses have been built at Cammo and Maybury, resulting in the loss of valued greenbelt, landscapes and habitats, and all requiring access onto congested Maybury Road and Barnton and Maybury junctions.

"A further 500 homes requiring access will exacerbate congestion, increase costs of delays to businesses and impact air quality both locally and on the Queensferry and Costorphine Roads, which are two of the city’s most polluting roads.”

He also argued the development would remove prime agricultural land, add to the already impossible demand for school places and expose new homeowners to odours from a nearby composting site.

Steve Kerr, of Corstorphine community council, said in a written statement that the development would mean the loss of open space which was well-used and enjoyed by the local community.No-one from the developers attended the meeting to put the argument for the plans.

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Green councillor Alex Staniforth said he wished the developers were there and suggested the reason they were not may be that the proposals were “literally indefensible”. He said: “They clearly don’t feel they can help their own case.”

Planning convener Neil Gardiner said it was clear the proposals were “contrary to so many planning policies”.

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