First phase of Edinburgh ‘Garden District’ edges closer

Garden district in situPlans to build up to 1,350 homes as part of a £1 billion ‘Garden District’ to the west Edinburgh have cleared another planning hurdle.

Developer Murray Estates’ plans is for the first phase of a 675-acre ‘Garden District’ on a 54-hectare site next to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters at Gogar Station Road.

The overall £1bn development will eventually deliver up to 6,000 new homes over a 20-year cycle in a new urban district proposal which would include a school, shopping centre, sports facilities and green space.

A quarter of all the homes, including 375 properties in the first phase, will be affordable housing, with the remainder split between private homes and apartments.

Garden DistrictThe first phase of the project was approved by members of the City of Edinburgh Council’s development and management committee last month, however it required full council approval.

This was achieved yesterday as councillors voted 35 to 17 to grant planning permission.

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.

But fellow Labour councillor Lesley Hinds spoke out against the proposals, arguing the site did not have adequate transport links.

Garden district masterplanMembers of the Green party had argued that the scheme was unnecessary and would “rip up” the greenbelt.

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.”

He added that the development would not cater for the city’s affordable housing needs in “well-connected places”.

Garden district aerial siteThe proposals still need to be referred to the Scottish Government because of an objection from the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency, which is based close to the site.

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.”

The Scottish Government will now decide whether the application is called in for ministers to issue a final ruling.

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