RESIDENTS have launched a new campaign against thousands of homes being built on their doorstep.
They say they accept that more housing is needed for Edinburgh’s growing population, but claim too much of it is being proposed for the south-east of the Capital.
A major development of 633 homes at Broomhills was given the go-ahead despite objections from local groups.
But campaigners say almost ten times as many houses could be built in the area if a series of other applications are approved.
And now they have launched Save Our South East Wedge (SOSEW) in a bid to highlight the problems they believe that would create, including major traffic congestion, serious air pollution, difficulties in finding doctors and a shortage of school places.
The Reverend Cammy Mackenzie, Church of Scotland minister in Gilmerton, is one of those concerned about the plans.
He said: “Broomhills is probably ten per cent of the houses that are going to be built in the area. We’re worried because they are building the equivalent of a new town here.
“We’re not Nimbyist, but we feel it’s developers that are in charge because they are sticking in applications right, left and centre for every piece of land. They are not bothered whether it’s in the local development plan or not, they just fire them in.
“The planning department does its best, but they are being told by the Scottish Government they need to provide for 31,000 houses.”
He said the sheer quantity of traffic which would be generated by the new developments would cause major problems on already congested roads.
“The problem is not with any of the individual housing developments, but we’re worried about the cumulative effect,” he added.
SOSEW plans a petition and a publicity campaign.
David Wilson Homes (DWH), which has been given planning permission for the Broomhills development, east of Frogston Road, said it would mean the creation of 2200 direct and indirect jobs, including 12 full-time apprenticeships, as well as improvements to community services.
Alison Condie, managing director of DWH East Scotland, said: “Edinburgh desperately needs new homes. The Broomhills site is an ideal opportunity to help address this situation, delivering quality homes in an area where people want to live.”
She said DWH had set aside £14 million for education and £375,000 for transport improvements in the area, including safeguarding a site for a new primary school to ease the pressure on nearby Gilmerton and Craigour Park.
Planning convener Ian Perry said: “We have been given a figure by the Scottish Government to deliver housing as part of the local development plan. That means part of the green belt will have to be built on.
“I understand the concerns of the community in south-east Edinburgh, but there are similar concerns in the west and east of the city which are facing similar developments.”