Edinburgh residents fear housing boom’s infrastructure impact

Up to 6000 homes could be built in south-east Edinburgh. File picture: comp
Up to 6000 homes could be built in south-east Edinburgh. File picture: comp
Have your say

RESIDENTS fear a rush of housebuilding in the south-east of the city will be a “disaster” for local health services, roads and schools.

We revealed on Monday that plans for around 6000 homes are being quietly lined up by developers across just five square miles of land, stretching from Craigmillar to Burdiehouse.

Now locals have raised concerns the scale of the proposals will impact on infrastructure and bring services to a standstill.

Lesley Gibson-Eaglesham, chair of Gilmerton Inch community council, said around 18,000 people would be moving into the area if the plans were all given the go-ahead.

She said: “Our main objection to the building of so many properties within this area is the total lack of infrastructure.

“The vast majority of the building is planned on greenbelt land, along with the lack of forward planning regarding education, doctors and dentist services and not forgetting the traffic.

“Gilmerton is one of Edinburgh’s conservation villages which means that the main through route cannot be altered.

“Should planning permission be granted for all the proposed developments within this area, it will result in excess of 6000 houses being built, which would house roughly 18,000 people. This is more people than live in Haddington.

“We are aware that new housing is needed and as such do not have a problem with some new housing within our area as long as it is well planned and the infrastructure regarding education, traffic and health services [is] clearly thought through and planned in advance.”

Research by the Evening News and the Save Our South East Wedge (SOSEW) campaign found there are now 13 separate housing schemes being advanced in the south-east, with seven already given the go-ahead.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s controversial Local Development Plan (LDP) – a city-wide housing blueprint – remains in limbo despite being signed off by councillors last year.

Councillor Ian Perry, convener of the city’s planning committee, insisted the council wanted to finalise the LDP “as soon as possible to give greater certainty to residents and developers”, and revealed the Scottish Government’s report on it should be ready at the end of May.

Cllr Nick Cook, who represents Liberton and Gilmerton, said the sprawl of housing raised important issues around the way planning was dealt with.

He said: “I think there are some fundamental issues with the planning process, and the fact that the decision can be taken out of the hands of locally elected councillors and made by the Scottish Government.

“But I don’t think the council has helped the situation with its handling of the LDP.”