Half of Portobello residents object to new homes plan

Plans and artist impressions of the proposed Barrat housing development at Baileyfield - site of the Standard Life development near Portobello
Plans and artist impressions of the proposed Barrat housing development at Baileyfield - site of the Standard Life development near Portobello
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Nearly 300 objections have been lodged in response to plans for almost 500 homes in Portobello.

Housebuilders Barratt aim to meet much-needed demand for residential housing but of the 328 comments received by the city council, 293 were against the development.

Concerns were raised around vital services becoming overly stretched and objectors also claimed traffic congestion in the area already amounts to delays without the added pressure of an influx of people.

Councillor David Walker said: “Most people accept and acknowledge that the former Standard Life site is a good fit for development and welcome the housing to some extent, as do I.

“I support the housing here but have raised objections to the density levels, height of the buildings and lack of information relating to traffic volume.

“I hope Barratt sees some sense and understands local people’s concerns – we are not objecting to housing completely but hope they will be reasonable and keep density levels in line with other sites, nor build blocks which are not in keeping with the area.”

Derek Wallace, local resident and owner of Reds restaurant thinks despite some minor commonsense alterations, the plans should go ahead. “As a business owner, I welcome more residential developments in Portobello,” he said. “My wife, who has lived here all her life, and I, who have lived here for 30 years, don’t understand why so much protectionism exists here.

“I get the impression anything new coming to the area would attract the same response. It is a good thing, bringing more people to Portobello, making the area more vibrant and more alive.

“The sit has lain empty for a long time and I would rather see the land be used and put to good use for residential development or more retail than it sitting there making the town look derelict.”

Results from Portobello Community Council engagement events saw 55 per cent object and 30 per cent in support of the development, from 269 respondents. Geoff Lynn, secretary, said: “The common themes amongst objectors were the development size and traffic – how the development might interlink with Harry Lauder Road and the High Street and the potential impact of more cars on the streets generally.

“There was a general sense that it is a good use of the site and support was shown from young people who are finding it difficult to buy houses in the area. They welcomed the development and said it would give them a chance to buy a flat or colony that they could otherwise not afford.”

Mansoor Ali, development director of Barratt Homes East Scotland, said: “We thank everyone who attended our consultation events as well as the Portobello Community Council public meetings. The feedback gathered was extremely useful and this has helped shaped our plans to redevelop the site.”