Government overrules city council to approve 1400 new homes near Edinburgh Airport

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Plans for a £500 million development of 1400 new homes near Edinburgh Airport could now get the green light after the Scottish Government overturned a city council decision which rejected the proposal.

Residents claim the development to the west of Maybury Road will add even more traffic to St John’s Road in Corstorphine, already dubbed Scotland’s most polluted street.

And they say the latest decision disregards the legitimate concerns of the community.

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Councillors turned down the plans in April last year after agreeing the development was in breach of planning rules.

Ariel of the proposed developement to the west of theairportAriel of the proposed developement to the west of theairport
Ariel of the proposed developement to the west of theairport
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Plans to build 600 homes on Cammo Estate submitted

Officials recommended the committee refuse the application based on eight points including the incorporation of greenbelt land in the plans and the adverse impact it would have on the surrounding landscape.

But the proposals – drawn up by West Craigs Ltd and Dunedin Canmore Housing Association – were turned over to Scottish Government ministers on appeal.

Planning ministers said they would agree to the progression of the proposals to the next stage of the planning process as long as the developer agrees to meet specific conditions. Stuart Buchanan, managing director of Cardross Asset Management Ltd, appointed asset manager of the West Craigs development, said: “We are delighted to see that Reporters appointed by the Scottish Government have issued their Intention to Grant letter and we look forward to working with the City of Edinburgh Council and the other stakeholders on this project.”

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Alex Cole Hamilton Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPAlex Cole Hamilton Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP
Alex Cole Hamilton Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP

The reporters said the key considerations for the application included the impact of the proposal on the green belt; the extent to which the proposal complies with design principles and its impact on transport and other infrastructure.

They said: “We conclude that the development is allocated in the local development plan, complies with the site brief and design principles and accords with the relevant policies of the development plan. There are no other material considerations which would lead us to alter our conclusions. Consequently, we are minded to grant planning permission in principle subject to 23 conditions.”

A council spokesperson, said: “We have received the decision from the Reporters and we are considering their findings.”

If all conditions are met developers will then submit a detailed planning application for the 73 hectare site which will comprise affordable homes across 25 per cent of the houses.

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Steve KerrSteve Kerr
Steve Kerr

Plans also include connections to a pedestrian/cycle bridge link to the Edinburgh Gateway Station and onward connection to the Gyle Shopping Centre, Edinburgh Park and International Business Gateway as well as a new 30m wide green network link from the proposed pedestrian/cycle bridge through the Maybury site to connect via Cammo Walk and Cammo Estate park.

The West Craig decision comes as controversial proposals to build more than 1300 homes on green belt land surrounding the Capital by a former owner of Rangers Football Club have also been put in front Scottish ministers.

The proposal was put forward for final approval after a government agency dropped their objections to the project.

Redheughs Village, proposed by ex-Ibrox chief Sir David Murray, was supported by councillors when plans were initially tabled back in 2015.

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However, the development – which would be the first stage of the £1 billion “Garden District” built on land near Royal Bank of Scotland’s Gogarburn headquarters – was held up due to concerns over the potential environmental impact by Science and Advice for Agricultural Services (SASA).

The agency, which conducts research into crop diseases, argued the green belt provided “a high degree of bio-security necessary for the scientific work being carried out”.

But the plans may now be given the go-ahead when they are presented to ministers later this month after SASA reached an agreement with Murray Estates in October 2017.

This phase of the project includes at least 300 of the new builds to be reserved for affordable housing as well as new primary and nursery schools and a 40-acre park.

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Major development tabled for sites across the west of Edinburgh could cause gridlock if developers ignore the need for improved infrastructure and more local services.

The proliferation of small and medium housing developments in western Edinburgh has already had a big impact on both roads and infrastructure.

Local residents say more plans for homes at Cammo as well as the £500m Parabola proposal and the 23-acre commercial site at the International Business Gateway near Edinburgh Airport will aggravate the current pressures.

Despite the number of much-needed new homes in the city, concerns have been raised over the cumulative impact on an already strained network feeding into the city, were all the development proposals to be successful.

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The chairman of Corstorphine Community Council, Steve Kerr, said: “While the community council readily understand the needs for house building programme and that has to take place in the west of the city, we are disappointed that the legitimate concerns of residents haven’t been addressed in respect of the inevitable and significant traffic volume and the consequent pollution that would be generated.”

“It is a disregard for the legitimate concerns for funnelling traffic through St Johns Road which has the unwanted epitaph of being the most polluted street in Scotland. It’s difficult to understand how further development can do anything but exacerbate that problem.”

Should the Maybury development successfully make it through the next stage of planning, the housebuilders would include a primary school, shops, offices and hundreds of affordable homes.

Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Over the last ten years or so we have seen a proliferation of housing development in west Edinburgh built without any thought of impact on congestive roads or overstretched doctors surgeries.

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“The West Craigs Ltd development is on the fringes of the A8 and St Johns Road which is persistently one of Scotland’s most polluted thoroughfares. There’s high demand on local medical services at Ladywell and East Craigs and no capacity to sustain any new population growth.

“Once again this is housing development by increment rather than by strategy.”