Garden District debate delayed after developers make complaint

An artist's impression of the proposed Garden District.''Picture: EMA Architecture + Design Limited
An artist's impression of the proposed Garden District.''Picture: EMA Architecture + Design Limited
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PROPOSALS for a major housing development in the green belt have been hit by a surprise delay.

Councillors were due to debate the plans for up to 1500 homes in the so-called Garden District – beyond the City Bypass in west Edinburgh – on Monday.

But the item has now been withdrawn from the agenda of the council’s development management sub-committee because of a complaint lodged by the developers.

READ MORE: Murray Estates backers brand council report ‘a work of fiction’

They have labelled the report by officials which recommended refusal “a work of fiction”.

The Evening News revealed yesterday that Murray Estates – owned by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray – had made an official complaint over “clear misinformation” in the report. This includes an assertion that the site is not in the city’s designated strategic development area, while quoting a council motion which confirmed it was.

A council source said: “The report has been pulled to allow the council’s monitoring officer to carry out an investigation. Some councillors are frustrated they are not going to be able to discuss this on Monday.

“You could say the developers made a mistake in lodging this complaint. The officials were recommending refusal, but it’s the councillors who decide and they were leaning towards granting. Now because of the complaint it’s all going to be delayed.”

The source said the Garden District application could not now be agreed until June, but the local development plan – the masterplan setting out where housing developments should be built – was due back at the council next month.

“If that says this piece of land should not be in the LDP that will make it much more difficult for the developers to argue their case,” said the source.

Jestyn Davies, managing director at Murray Estates, said: “We are very disappointed that the council will be unable to come to a view about the application on Monday. We did withdraw our complaint on the basis the facts about our application were clarified at the start of the meeting on Monday, but the council has decided to withdraw the report anyway.

“Any delay is regrettable, but it does not change the compelling case that there is for our proposals. This is a well-planned world-class extension to the nation’s capital, and we are keen to work with the council to meet its housing shortfall of 4500 homes.

“All we have ever asked is for our proposals to be considered fairly and on their own merits. We just want the council to take the right decision for the right reasons.”