Edinburgh's £500m Business Gateway plans called in by Scottish Government over transport concerns
Controversial plans to build a large business hub near Edinburgh Airport will now be decided by the government due to concerns over the impact the development would have on transport.
Developers Murray Capital, who are a consortium of Murray Estates, Frogmore Property, New Ingliston Limited and Salmon Harvester Properties, slammed the move stating the government were putting politics ahead of investment, jobs and growth.
Bosses at Edinburgh Airport, who were heavily critical of the application and who had called for the development to be stopped, welcomed the move by the government and said it was crucial that adequate transport plans are proposed.
The future of the £500m International Business Gateway (IBG), which Murray Capital say will bring more than 12,000 new jobs and more than 1,150 hotel rooms as well as nearly 400 homes, will now be decided by the Scottish Government despite the plans being approved by the City of Edinburgh Council.
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.
David Murray, the managing director at Murray Capital, labelled the decision “deeply disappointing” which puts jobs and investment at risk.
He also criticised the government, saying that it was putting politics ahead of economic growth and investment.
Mr Murray said: “The government has made clear its intent to steward the growth of the Scottish economy at a time of very significant downside risk. But the words are not being matched by action in this case, quite the reverse.
“This project would create hundreds of jobs in its development and house 12,000 jobs when completed.
“The politics of the planning process is putting investment, jobs and growth at risk. The danger is that the message from the Scottish Government to the world is a negative one at the very point when we need strategic projects like this active and investing in the city and country.”
Mr Murray added that further delay to the IBG and the 1,350 home Edinburgh Garden District project, delivered by Murray Estates, would lead to costs due to delays.
He said: “Both are strategically critical projects for the city and the country. I ask ministers to expedite this next process with very significant urgency and hope that they understand that the costs of delay are very real”.
Bosses at Edinburgh Airport which would share the bulk of the traffic on Eastfield Road said congestion was already well above acceptable levels and it would only get worse without an appropriate travel plan for the new development.
Plans are in the works over a new road through Airport land from the Gogar roundabout to mitigate future developments, but Airport bosses said the IBG must consider existing problems before approval is granted.
A spokesman at the airport 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.
“It’s important we now jointly identify and find solutions to our shared needs, delivering employment, investment and growth for West Edinburgh and Scotland in a clear and structured manner.”