Edinburgh's opposition to greenbelt development risks jeopardising delivery of the homes the Capital needs, say housebuilders

The city council’s stance against development in the greenbelt risks jeopardising the delivery of the homes the Capital needs, housebuilders have claimed.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 4:55 am

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The draft City Plan 2030, published last week, set out proposals to focus on brownfield sites within Edinburgh, with no new greenbelt land released for development. The council said there was more than enough land available to accommodate the number of houses required.

But Homes for Scotland, which represents the housebuilding industry, claimed the policy was a “high risk strategy”.

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Map showing proposed sites for potential housing developments

Tammy Swift-Adams, director of planning at Homes for Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is a great place to live for those who can afford it. Our members building here are overwhelmed with demand – but there is a real danger that the direction city policy is taking will jeopardise delivery of the homes of all tenures that our capital city needs, thus putting more pressure on house prices and rents.”

She said there were obvious reasons why the council wanted more development on brownfield land.

"But deciding not to allocate any new greenfield land at all is a very high risk strategy.

“Greenfield sites have always made a vital contribution to Edinburgh’s housing supply, particularly much-needed family homes.

"If the council is turning off that tap completely, how confident is it that the brownfield sites being proposed are really deliverable? We have strong concerns, but that is a crucial question councillors must answer.”

Ms Swift-Adams said Homes for Scotland would review the proposals in full and provide a clear response to help the council strike “the right balance” between environmental and economic considerations.

But she added: “It is disappointing to note the anti-volume home builder tone being reported in the press. These companies are important city partners. They build the majority of Edinburgh’s homes, support a lot of jobs and make a huge contribution to public finances.

"The council needs to work with all of its stakeholders to ensure its new plan is deliverable. Such framing is neither helpful nor conducive to achieving the positive outcomes we all want to see.

"The real test for the council will come when it puts its final plan in place. Future generations will suffer if home building dwindles and house prices and rents continue to soar.”

The City Plan proposals encourage mixed use developments which make use of existing infrastructure and create a sense of neighbourhood.

Launching the document, planning convener Neil Gardiner said: "Rather than growing forever outwards, the proposed plan focuses on developing new communities on brownfield land which mix living, working and leisure uses."

He said it would require developers “to think a bit differently” but sai that was already happening, with hundreds of new homes built in the Bonnington area, for example, in recent years.

A new mixed-use neighbourhood is proposed in West Edinburgh, using a combination of sites near the airport; brownfield land at the Waterfront is also due to be developed; and other brownfield sites designated include Seafield, Redford Barracks, Astley Ainslie, the BioQuarter, Liberton Hospital, Bonnington and Fettes.

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