Update May 2017: Glenbrook proposal is now back on the table. Cockburn Cres refused. Harlaw Gait refused. Ravelrig is already going ahead. Currievale not proposed – but Newmills will probably go ahead, making Currievale likely over the longer term.
All of these proposed developments are speculative attempts by developers to build on the Green Belt.
These sites have not been allocated for development and the proposals are contrary to current planning policy.
It is by no means inevitable therefore that any of these attempts to breach the Green Belt will be successful.
The South East Scotland plan (SESplan) requires that development in West Edinburgh is focused within the West Edinburgh Strategic Development Area (SDA). The West Edinburgh SDA is recognised as a highly sustainable location for new development which will reduce carbon emissions. Basically it proposes development around the Newbridge / Airport / Hermiston / Maybury area, benefiting from the new tram line and infrastructure.
SESplan states that “within the South West Edinburgh SDA…any additional housing land allocations will be determined through the LDPs following the preparation of the supplementary guidance”. I.E. No provision is made by SESPlan for housing outwith this area.
SESplan also supports the Green Belt in Local Development Plans, to maintain the identity & landscape setting of our settlements, and to ensure that new development is directed towards brownfield sites.
This policy also ensures that developers are steered towards brownfield sites that are suitable for development, rather than highly profitable Green Belt sites.
There is therefore no justification for building on the Green Belt around Balerno, and there are many reasons why this is undesirable and unsustainable:
1. It is contrary to the LDP in that it breaches the Green Belt. The Green Belt is there to prevent urban sprawl and coalescence and to direct
developers towards brownfield sites.
2. It deprives us of productive agricultural land. This will be important as climate change necessitates shorter food chains.
3. It destroys the rural landscape of our community – some of these areas are also candidate Special Landscape Areas in Planning terms.
4. It undermines the built, conservation character of our village.
5. It will overwhelm our roads with hundreds of new vehicles – Balerno does not have the geographic capacity to accommodate new roads,
and our Lanark Road is already congested. We have nowhere else for the extra vehicles to go!
6. Extra vehicle movements will have health and safety implications – more pedestrians at risk (oldest and youngest people in particular)
– less take up of cycling and walking, more emissions, more adverse breathing problems for asthmatics, more people defensively taking to
their cars to avoid these risks,.
7. Our local facilities cannot take the increase in population – e.g. schools, medical, nursery, sewage, water and care facilities – and neither the
developers nor the council are inclined to put this right- despite what the developers may promise at this stage.
8. Green party group within the Planning Committee made useful points during the abortive LDP debate:
– there is an established need for more affordable housing in the city
– the unrealistic nature of the identified housing requirement for 107,000 homes in SE Scotland significantly exceeding all recent rates of construction
– the up to 2,000 homes in Edinburgh which lie empty for more than 6 months
– the need to give priority to housing in urban areas on brownfield land
– the changing household demography of the city is not best fulfilled by building low density housing in suburban estates
– the impact of the LDP on transport, schools, the environment and air quality have not been adequately addressed
– the city’s current housing requirements can be met by the use of brownfield land and that there is at present no need for the inclusion of any of the greenfield sites set out in the plan
– the LDP fails to meet the requirements and obligations of the City of Edinburgh in terms of affordable housing, infrastructure provision, biodiversity, air quality, congestion and climate change, and therefore requires that all the proposals relating to greenfield sites be removed from the plan.