Neighbours left ‘devastated’ as controversial plans for 20 flats in Edinburgh gain council approval

Planning application for 37 Corstorphine Road accepted by Edinburgh City Council following initial rejection by council and a Scottish Government reporter.

Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 12:00 pm
Devastated neighbours have fought against the development at 37 Corstorphine Road  for over a year.
Devastated neighbours have fought against the development at 37 Corstorphine Road for over a year.

Edinburgh residents have finally lost a lengthy battle against controversial plans to demolish a Victorian villa and replace it with 20 flats as council votes five to four in favour of new build.

Plans to develop 37 Corstorphine Road, situated near the Water of Leith and a short walking distance of Roseburn Park, were initially rejected by Edinburgh City Council in July last year after being labelled an “alien invasion”.

However, the developers, Square and Crescent, appealed the decision to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) in August 2019, who upheld the original refusal by the council.

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Issues raised in the reporter’s decision to dismiss the appeal centred around the flood risk for the property and the potential for the new development to impact the privacy of neighbours, many of whom live in listed properties.

However, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, the proposal was re-submitted and the council’s Development Management Sub-Committee who approved the proposal.

Devastated neighbours who have fought hard against the proposal for over a year said this is an “outrageous outcome”.

Mark Findlay lives opposite the property and said that the decision was shockingly unfair and has left the whole neighbourhood ‘gutted’.

He said: “Well, on behalf of all the neighbours, I can say we are gutted. Gutted that the council’s planning department seem to side with the developer on all matters, and have offered weak and what looked like misleading information to the committee on which their decisions were made.”

Mr Findlay went on to claim that the system was “totally skewered against fairness” and their year-long protests have proved fruitless.

He claimed that the reason the planning permission was granted is that the council is “too scared” to refuse in case they then lose by appeal and have to pay the costs.

The angry Corstorphine Road resident said: “The system is totally skewed against fairness and in favour of highly professional and well-resourced developers to force whatever they want past the council and local residents.

“We are now having this development, which no one wants other than the landowner and developer, foisted upon us because it is "within planning law" and the council are too scared to refuse it in case they lose the inevitable appeal and have to pay the costs, which is the advice they were given by their planning official.”

Having now been approved by the council’s Development Management Sub-Committee the application will now be submitted to Scottish ministers for final approval. After which building work is expected to commence.

Development Management Sub Committee Convenor, Cllr Neil Gardiner, said: “This application was first refused by Committee last July for several reasons which included potential risk of flooding. This decision was subsequently appealed by the applicant to the Government whose appointed Planning Reporter then dismissed the appeal but stated some requirements which were then met by the applicant when they submitted the new application. Our flooding team and Committee are satisfied that the mitigation against flooding is acceptable. The Scottish Ministers have been notified that the Committee is minded to grant planning permission and we await their response to this.”

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