Tory MSP slams lack of 'long term vision' from SNP after £500m development called in

A Conservative MSP has slammed the decision to call in a £500 million development and accused the SNP of having "no real longer term vision" for Edinburgh's economy.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 3:51 pm
The planned location for the International Business Gateway

Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian, has criticised the decision to call in the decision over the International Business Gateway (IBG) development close to Edinburgh Airport.

The City of Edinburgh Council had approved the development which claimed it could provide more than 12,000 jobs.

However, the development was subject to strong criticism from Edinburgh Airport bosses who called for a more comprehensive transport assessment for the area.

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Miles Briggs, Conservative Lothian MSP

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“The failure of SNP Ministers to properly invest in Edinburgh’s infrastructure is now having an impact on opportunities for economic growth as well."

He added: "I have been lobbying SNP Ministers to seek action to address the ongoing problems residents and businesses are facing with at the Edinburgh City by-pass which is now overcapacity.

“It’s time for SNP Ministers to start thinking strategically about the transport infrastructure Edinburgh & Lothian desperately needs - not holding back investment, jobs, and growth.”

In their letter setting out why the application has been called in, the Scottish Government said: "The reason for this Direction is to allow further consideration of transport impacts of the proposed development, in view of the national importance of the West Edinburgh area."

A spokesman for the government said: “Cities and their regions play a crucial role driving economic growth which is why the Scottish Government is working individually and collectively with Scotland’s cities, regions, businesses and people to boost this growth.

“As the planning application is currently before Ministers, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the merits of the application.”

Edinburgh Airport bosses objected to the application before it was approved by the council due to the likelihood of increased congestion on Eastfield Road which is the main thoroughfare to the terminal building.

Plans are in the works over a new road through Airport land - likely to take in part of the land owned by the airport which is earmarked for their own Crosswinds development which will use part of the land taken up by a defunct runway.

A spokesman said following the news IBG had been called in that the Airport remained pro the development in principal.

He said: "The regeneration of West Edinburgh and the IBG proposal is something we welcome but it only works if developments are fully considerate of the well-known traffic issues we currently face.

“We’ve always said that a standalone transport assessment is crucial if we are to manage traffic in a way that aids us all – choking access would only stymie the potential economic benefits.

“We need the assessment so we can prevent further disruption and congestion and actually deliver additional capacity to the network."