Ward councillors are backing a community campaign to safeguard a popular green space from development.
Midmar Paddock to the west of Blackford Hill in the south of the city is under threat from development. Almost 200 residents took part in a public meeting last week opposing the land being used for housing – including people from all corners of the Capital.
Now, Conservative Morningside Cllr Nick Cook has launched a cross-party petition to tally up support for a campaign to save the green space.
Midmar Paddock is visited by hundreds of people each week, offering a passage to Blackford Pond, the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill.
Despite a successful community campaign in 2016 to prevent development and ensure the area retains special protected planning status, agent Strutt and Parker are advertising the 4.17 hectares as potential development land suitable for higher value, bespoke properties with potential self-build opportunities.
The advertisement by Strutt and Parker points to “10.31 acres of potential development land”.
It adds: “We believe that there is an opportunity, through consultation with the community and the council to secure development incorporating enhanced public access to the countryside, recreation opportunities, and enhanced allotment provision within established boundaries in a sustainable location.
“We believe this site could provide an element of diversity to the land supply, and an opportunity for higher value, bespoke properties with potential self-build opportunities to be delivered within a highly prestigious area of the city.”
Cllr Cook is urging residents to support the renewed campaign before a planning application is lodged for the site in order to make clear the scale of community opposition to any development.
He said: “Prior to the local government elections I promised that, if re-elected, I would robustly oppose any and all development of this beautiful, valuable green space.
“My opposition to the principle of development of this site remains steadfast.
“I urge people right across the community to sign my petition as part of the broad community led drive to save Midmar Paddock for residents and future generations.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr Neil Ross chaired the public meeting at Morningside Parish Church.
He said: “The Friends of Midmar Paddock is a new group, set up with the aim of protecting the paddock and securing access to Blackford Hill and the Hermitage for the community.
“Around 180 people came along to support the formation of the group to oppose any future plans for residential development on the paddock or attempts to change the green belt designation of the land.”
Two years ago, the owners applied to change the land in the Local Development Plan (LDP) to allow housing to be built – but this was rejected by a Scottish Government reporter. Preparations for an updated LDP are underway.
Green Morningside Cllr Melanie Main has called for the public concerns to be listened to and for the long-term future of the green space be secured.
She said: “This piece of ground, this field, has been used for decades by people in the community. Every so often, the owner tries to sell it for development.
“Over the years there have been so many campaigns. Just once and for all, we have to find a way of securing a future of green space. For the community, it comes up every so often. It’s very uncomfortable for the community.”
The petition can be signed by visiting https://www.change.org/p/city-of-edinburgh-council-save-midmar-paddock
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