Villagers fight lord’s green belt housing plan

Ken Shade says the community council will oppose plans for the site. Picture: Neil Hanna
Ken Shade says the community council will oppose plans for the site. Picture: Neil Hanna
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One of Scotland’s wealthiest aristocrats is facing stiff opposition over his bid to build dozens of homes on green belt land.

Plans submitted by Lord Dalmeny for up to 45 houses at Harlaw Gait, Balerno, have angered neighbours, who are ready to fight the proposals.

Balerno Community Council has pledged to lodge an objection if planning permission is sought for the development.

The plans will feature two to five-bedroom detached properties, including affordable housing.

Two public exhibitions have already been held to display the plans, and a consultation period will close on October 3.

Community council planning chief Ken Shade, who lives a mile from the proposed development, said neighbours had a strong track record of thwarting house building on the area’s green belt. He said: “Balerno Community Council has a policy of opposing ­housing developments on the green belt or parkland.

“There are a number of planning applications for the area around Balerno, amounting to as many as 2000 houses.

“This is only part of the bigger picture, and we have lodged objections against all of these applications.

“Because it is in the green belt, the community ­council will strongly object to this proposal.

“The green belt is a big thing for a lot of people in and around Balerno. They feel Balerno is protected because it has its own green belt that completely surrounds the village. We want to maintain that.”

Harry Dalmeny is a wealthy and well-connected member of the aristocracy, and a major donor to the Conservative Party. Educated at Eton and ­Cambridge, he became a director of auction house Sotheby’s in 2000 and currently serves as the company’s deputy chairman for the UK.

As heir to the Earldom of Rosebery, Lord Dalmeny is set to inherit oa vast swathe of south-east Scotland from his father, the 7th Earl of Rosebery.

As well as the Dalmeny Estate, the family’s land includes farms around Livingston and Linlithgow, and the Malleny Estate which runs into the Pentland Hills.

The estate’s business interests include forestry, farming, grouse moors, holiday cottages, property and renewable energy.

John Wright, planning and development associate at real estate firm Strutt & Parker, which is acting as planning agents for Lord Dalmeny, encouraged residents to take part in the consultation.

He said: “We were delighted to share these proposals with the community at two exhibition events on September 17 and 20.

“We very much hope that those who were unable to attend can find the exhibition material and questionnaire on our website.”

No-one from the Dalmeny Estate was available for comment.