Home building industry welcomes Ministerial approval of planning appeals

Blair Melville
Blair Melville

Homes for Scotland has welcomed the news that the first two of eight major planning appeals called in for determination by the Scottish Government have been approved.

Communities secretary Alex Neil overruled Edinburgh city planners to personally grant an appeal from developers wanting to build 173 homes on greenbelt land at the Edmonstone Estate, near Little France, despite the plans previously being rejected by councillors.

Mr Neil also approved another 52-home development at Old Craighall in Musselburgh, which was rejected by East Lothian councillors in 2014.

The minister is also considering four other contentious planning appeals, including one for Cammo in west Edinburgh, where residents are opposing plans to build more than 600 homes.

Homes for Scotland head of planning strategy, Blair Melville, said: “These decisions send out very clear signals to the authorities involved that delays in the planning system have reached intolerable levels.

“Approval of the SESplan Strategic Development Plan took almost 5 years and we still do not have any of the 6 Local Development Plans for Lothians, Borders and Fife close to adoption. Councillors, particularly in Edinburgh, have repeatedly sought to delay the proper planning process and are in denial about the vital need to ensure they have enough homes in the right locations to meet the diverse housing needs of both present and future generations in their areas.

“Whilst some Edinburgh councillors bemoan the decisions, this misses the point that it is their council which has created the city’s planning vacuum by twice failing to produce a coherent development plan.

“And let’s not lose sight of the fact that the appeals granted were for a total of 225 homes with the imminent Cammo appeal for 670. In the context of Edinburgh’s need for 30,000 new homes by 2024, cabinet secretary Alex Neil rightly concluded that these developments do not undermine strategic planning for Edinburgh or raise any significant issues of impact. Councillors must now start planning properly for our capital city region.

“Hopefully the message sent by the Scottish Government will be heard by all authorities across the country and followed through in the other six awaited appeals, giving an unequivocal signal that the building of much needed new homes is a priority across Scotland.”

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