The project – which is already a decade in the making – reached a key milestone on Wednesday when councillors approved proposals for nearly 1,000 new homes in the south-west of the town.
Approval for a supermarket and a petrol station was also granted as part of the 44-hectare development by Builyeon Road, whilst plans to build a drive-thru fast food takeaway were turned down after it was argued it wouldn’t comply with Edinburgh’s environmental policies.
The masterplan also includes a new care home and primary school, however proposals are yet to be finalised.
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Developers CALA Homes said it plans to invest upwards of £11 million in the community “in addition to the delivery of a new primary school and local transportation improvements”.
Keith Giblett, chairman of Queensferry and District Community Council, said the council now needs to press developers to “clarify their investment timescales, namely primary schooling and local transport infrastructure upgrades that will inevitably be required”.
The masterplan was submitted to planners in two parts, the first consisting of an application for the ‘construction of retail foodstore, drive-thru food and drink and petrol filling station/retail kiosk/carwash together with access, landscaping, parking and associated works’, and the second for 980 houses.
Both were put before members of the council’s Management Development Sub-Committee for approval.
During determination for the first application, SNP councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan raised concerns about granting permission for a new petrol station and said: “If we’re in 2022 and we’re trying to reach carbon neutrality by 2030, and it takes some time to put these up, it just seems to me we’re saying to them to go ahead and build something that we then tell them wouldn’t be suitable to be used by the time it’s up and running.”
Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat added plans should be amended so that the supermarket’s car park is positioned behind the store so the area will be less “car dominated”.
She said: “We’ve had similar situations before when we’ve had a retailer wanting to put a large retail store next to an area of quite a lot of new housebuilding. At that point we were quite muscular with them as a committee saying ‘actually flip your plan on your head, don’t give us what you always give us, stick your parking at the back behind it, and it also has a petrol station, but it’s got no store, you have to go into the store and put in a square.
“This was the Asda down at Sanport in Leith. Actually it’s really successful from the point of view that it’s not a car dominated supermarket.
“I do think there’s a real opportunity with this to either get it really wrong or get it really right. If the parking is not obvious rather than dominating the middle of the site I think as a committee that’s what I would like to see because I don’t have any objection apart from the drive-thru uses.”
Members agreed the plans would be appropriate in principle if the car park is redesigned and the drive-thru removed from the proposals.
Furthermore, officers pointed out that the planned 177 parking spaces around the retail stores would not be granted permission at it exceeds the council’s maximum standard of 109 spaces.
In moving onto plans for the new homes, it was noted that environmental and safety concerns had been raised about proposed vehicle access diverting off the current Builyeon Road which would pass the new primary school and residential properties.
But planning officer Nicola Orr said the realignment of the road would make way for the creation of a “landscaped active travel corridor”.
She added: “New Builyeon Road passes along the southern boundary of the new primary school where the speed limit would be 20mph, traffic calming measures in place and a new civic street with ground floor commercial uses.”
Now the masterplan has been approved, work will begin on the development’s initial infrastructure components alongside an earthworks programme to establish the new primary school site which will be handed over the council later this year.
Derek Lawson, Strategic Land Director with CALA Homes (East), said: “We fully recognise that this is a significant expansion of the Queensferry community – and one that has been on the cards for a long time.
“The wider community, in particular the Queensferry and District Community Council, had concerns over the previous Masterplan which was proposed prior to CALA’s involvement. CALA became involved in the project in 2019, and undertook a wide ranging review which has helped to inform the revised proposals which now include commercial and retail uses to promote a mixed community.”