Edinburgh Council has given to go ahead for plans to build a 1,350 housing development on green belt land on the outskirts of the city.
The decision came following a lengthy five and a half hour meeting in which the council own officials recommending the proposals be rejected. Planners said the development went against the Local Development Plan and would impact upon a replacement plan, which is currently under consideration.
The approval has been criticised as those who see the development as an encroachment into the city’s greenbelt area, despite the inclusion of huge amounts of parkland in the plans.
Greens planning spokesman Councillor Nigel Bagshaw said: “Sticking the adjective ‘garden’ in front of a development neither makes it green nor in the city’s best interest.”
The developer, Murray Estates described the project as a “world class extension to the nation’s capital”.
The development will see the construction of a new primary school shopping centre, sports facilities and a 60-acre national garden. The overall project is valued at £1Bn and will ultimately see 6000 new homes delivered.
The approval of the first phase is subject to further examination on flood prevention and traffic and public transport. It will then be referred to the Scottish government for final approval.
Edinburgh Council’s LDP was signed off last year but is still under review by the Scottish government’s planning reporter. It is expected to be finalised in the next few weeks.
The council hope that by pushing through the proposals, the need to build homes in more controversial areas can be lessened.
Councillor Sandy Howat commented: ““We need to build in the right places. To make the reporter see sense, to make the government ministers see sense, we need to give a very strong message.”
Jestyn Davies, Managing Director of Murray Estates, said: “Obviously, we are delighted to have secured overwhelming support from the committee today.
“We believe that this will be a world class extension to the nation’s capital, and this will become one of the city’s most successful housing developments.
“We look forward to making the case for the proposals to all members of the council in due course.”