Residents’ anger over homes plan

David Hamilton of Gilberstoun Residents Association stands in the greenbelt area
David Hamilton of Gilberstoun Residents Association stands in the greenbelt area
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PROPOSALS to revive a project to create a massive housing development linking Edinburgh and Musselburgh have sparked anger among residents who today accused the city council of freezing them out of the planning process.

More than 400 homes were to be built on greenbelt land on two sites at Newcraighall, nearly tripling the size of the former mining village.

The developments, by council developer EDI and landowner the Dalrymple Trust, would have accounted for the total number of homes allowed to be built on greenbelt land in the city.

The scheme has been hugely controversial and has previously been sent back to the drawing board after a Court of Session ruling.

Now new proposals to revive the project have been given the go-ahead by councillors after a “workable compromise” was approved by a planning committee.

Plans for 420 homes on two sites at Newcraighall East and Newcraighall North have been cut by 20 per cent to 336.

Despite the reduction, residents, backed by councillors and MPs, have objected to the size of the project, fearing the local transport system is ill-equipped to handle the increase.

They say they were told they could examine proposals before they were considered by the development management sub-committee.

Ray Faccenda, chair of the Newcraighall Residents’ Association, said: “We’re naturally quite aggrieved that we’re expected to agree with this offer. It’s as if they run their own agenda and don’t really pay much attention to what we think.”

Residents of nearby Gilberstoun have also objected.

As part of the new proposals, which will be detailed in full later this year and will require final approval from councillors, Newcraighall Primary School will be extended to cater for the increased number of pupils.

Edinburgh East MP, Sheila Gilmore, has expressed dismay at the way the village has been treated by planners. She said: “I am deeply disappointed that the committee has granted permission for nearly 350 homes without consulting the community or local councillors.

“Residents are concerned that this number of houses will have a huge impact on village life. Infrastructure in the area simply will not be able to cope.

“Council planning officials seem to have based their recommendations on the needs of the developers over and above proper planning considerations.”

Eric Adair, operations and finance director of EDI, said: “The reduction in house numbers is significant and means that the agreed density of housing is now much lower than that of the surrounding areas.

“However we are still committed to the originally agreed local improvements such as an extension to the primary school. The sites will provide great family housing, which Edinburgh desperately needs.”