Housebuilders raise concerns over Edinburgh greenbelt policy

Housebuilders raise concerns over Edinburgh greenbelt policy

Tammy Swift-Adams

The City of Edinburgh Council’s stance against development in the greenbelt risks jeopardising the delivery of homes that the city needs, housebuilders have warned.

The City of Edinburgh Council revealed its new City Plan 2030 last week, which will address climate change, affordability, providing more homes and jobs and how people move around.

The council said that the proposal is a comprehensive and bold plan to make sure future development in Edinburgh is sustainable, meets the needs of Edinburgh’s growing population and communities and helps the city achieve its Net Zero 2030 ambition.

The proposal has outlined that no new greenbelt land will be released for development as there was more than enough land available to accommodate the number of houses required.

However, Homes for Scotland has claimed the policy was a “high-risk strategy”.

Tammy Swift-Adams, director of planning at Homes for Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is a great place to live for those who can afford it. Our members building here are overwhelmed with demand – but there is a real danger that the direction city policy is taking will jeopardise the delivery of the homes of all tenures that our capital city needs, thus putting more pressure on house prices and rents.”

She added that there were obvious reasons why the council wanted more development on brownfield land.

She continued: “But deciding not to allocate any new greenfield land at all is a very high-risk strategy. Greenfield sites have always made a vital contribution to Edinburgh’s housing supply, particularly much-needed family homes.

“If the council is turning off that tap completely, how confident is it that the brownfield sites being proposed are really deliverable? We have strong concerns, but that is a crucial question councillors must answer.”

Ms Swift-Adams said Homes for Scotland would review the proposals in full and provide a clear response to help the council strike “the right balance” between environmental and economic considerations, The Edinburgh Evening News reports. 

However, she concluded: “It is disappointing to note the anti-volume home builder tone being reported in the press. These companies are important city partners. They build the majority of Edinburgh’s homes, support a lot of jobs and make a huge contribution to public finances.

“The council needs to work with all of its stakeholders to ensure its new plan is deliverable. Such framing is neither helpful nor conducive to achieving the positive outcomes we all want to see.

“The real test for the council will come when it puts its final plan in place. Future generations will suffer if home building dwindles and house prices and rents continue to soar.”

Announcing the plan last week, Councillor Neil Gardiner, planning convener, commented: “This proposed development plan can recalibrate how development happens in this city, positively shaping how our Capital grows and changes over the next 10 years and beyond.

“Rather than growing forever outwards, the proposed plan focuses on developing new communities on brownfield land which mix living, working and leisure uses. These locations utilise and add to already existing infrastructure. This plan is about us as a city collectively making the right decisions now so that our residents can make reasonable and informed choices about how and where they live and how they get around in the future.”

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