Councillors back £1bn scheme

Greenbelt scheme for new community gets council backing

Murray Estates Garden District

A controversial plan to build a new community on greenbelt land in the west of Edinburgh has given the go-ahead by councillors.

They overturned a recommendation from officials to reject the project and approved the first 1,320 of 6,200 homes that will be built on 615 acres between the city by-pass and the RBS headquarters at Gogarburn.

The new community will be called Redheughs Village and will include a primary school and shopping units.

Residents, businesses and environmentalists have criticised the £1 billion proposal from Sir David Murray’s company, not only because it involves protected land but over  the increase in road traffic in an already congested area.

A full meeting of the city council voted 35-17 to grant planning permission, although the proposals will be referred to the Scottish Government because of an objection from the nearby Scottish Agricultural Science Agency.

Planning convener Ian Perry said backing the plans would provide more acceptable land for new housing than some other proposed sites like Cammo, Curriehill and Curriemuirend.

However, his Labour colleague Lesley Hinds said the site did not have adequate transport links and the Greens objected to “ripping up” green belt land.

The site of the new Redheughs village
The site of the new Redheughs village

Green councillor Steve Burgess, who put forward an amendment to reject the proposals, said: “I am deeply disappointed that the council agreed to wave this application through, despite very significant reasons for refusal on transport, on the environment and on the integrity of the planning system.

“It is very clear that the development will increase car use, congestion and air pollution. It is clear that cyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs have been ignored.

“And the development sacrifices a green belt which has served the city for over half a century.”

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said: “We are obviously delighted that the council has given such overwhelming backing for our vision for the Garden District.

“We are keen to progress the delivery of new homes, and hope to be on site in the near future.

“Right from the beginning, our plan was to set out and create a genuinely world class extension of the nation’s capital, and now we have the support of the city council, we are determined to deliver that vision as soon as we can.”

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