Appeal lodged over 500-home West Craigs North project ahead of council vote
An application for a new 500-home residential complex and shops near Edinburgh Airport looks set to be decided by the Scottish Government after developers lodged an appeal before councillors were due to refuse permission.
West Craigs Limited submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment request to the City of Edinburgh Council towards the end of last year for its West Craigs North development that aims to provide between 300-500 new homes, including affordable housing, with potential for ancillary small-scale commercial use at Glasgow Road in Gogar.
The development will be the latest build on the West Craig Masterplan which, upon completion, will provide at least 1,700 new homes, a new primary school, nursery, health centre, café, two five-acre public parks and woodland.
The site is not included in the council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) and councillors were set to follow the recommendation of planners to reject the application, which had generated more than 150 objections from people who feared losing the nearby Cammo Estate, which is a local nature reserve, and the associated wildlife that roams around the greenbelt.
The design and access statement was prepared by Yeoman McAllister Architects on behalf of West Craigs Ltd and Dunedin Canmore and concluded that they had responded to all queries about the site.
It said: “The Landscape Framework and the masterplan demonstrate a clear understanding of the unique characteristics of the site; they preserve and enhance historical views, retain elements of stone dyke walling and existing trees where possible, embrace constraints and provide appropriate scale and density throughout.
“This concludes with a unique masterplan solution that has considered and responded to all of the key aspects of the site to provide an integrated landscape and SUDS network and a high quality public realm providing a landscaped setting for new private housing and affordable housing, easy access to education, retail and employment opportunities and encourages a healthy lifestyle and the use of sustainable modes of travel and public transport.”
But ultimately, with the council’s development committee set to reveal its decision on the application on March 2, an appeal was submitted to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA).
Councillor Kevin Lang said the decision to appeal was “disrespectful” to the council, adding that if the application had gone to the committee as planned it would have been “a slam-dunk case for refusal.”
“It also breaches council policy on the setting of listed buildings, it breaches council policy on historic gardens and designed landscapes and it breaches council policy on transport,” Councillor Lang said.
He added: “And there are very serious, grave concerns as to whether local schools, even if they are able to be expanded, would be able to deal with a development like this.”
Sonia MacDonald, planning officer for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The greenbelt is important to the setting of the city, the site has a rural, open character and is not flat but on a rising ridgeline.
“Whilst the aim is to contain the built development within the site alongside generous open space provision, the introduction of urban residential development across the site, across this ridge would break the open and rural character of the site.”