Green councillor slams Greenbelt sacrifice

Commenting on today’s planning debate at full council on the allocation of Greenbelt land at Gogar, in the west of Edinburgh, Green councillor Steve Burgess 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.

Steve“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.

“And, finally, it does not serve to meet the city’s pressing need for affordable housing in well-connected places. The additional housing demands of the city are almost entirely from older and single person households. Adding to suburban sprawl does nothing to meet their needs.”

The Council voted 35-17 to approve the plans.  Among the 17 voting to refuse were all Greens, both Lib Dems, 9 Labour, 1 independent and 1 Tory councillor. All SNP councillors voted in favour of the development.

The Green amendment is below

Council,

Agrees not to uphold the decision of the Development Management Sub-Committee on 16 May 2016 and to refuse planning permission for Gogar Station Road, Edinburgh (Land 1000 Metres NW SW And West Of Hermiston Junction M8), 15/04318/PPP for the following reasons;

A. Setting aside nine material planning reasons as set out by the Head of Planning in the report to the Development Management Sub-Committee on the 16 May 2016;

1) The proposal is contrary to Strategic Development Plan policy 7 in that the proposal will not be in keeping with the rural character of the area and will undermine the green belt objectives;

2) The proposal is contrary to Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan Policy E5 in respect of Development in GB/Countryside restriction, as it will result in a non conforming use;

3) The proposal was contrary to Policy E7 of the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan in relation to the Protection of Prime Agricultural Land as it would result in the permanent loss of prime agricultural land;

4) The proposal is contrary to Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan Policy TRA1 in respect of mode of access, as the proposal has poor connectivity to public transport network;

5) The proposal is contrary to the Second Proposed Local Development Plan Policy Env 11 in respect of Special Landscape Areas, as the proposal will result in a change of the rural character of this special landscape area;

6) The proposal is contrary to the Second Proposed Local Development Plan Policy Env 10 in respect of Development in the Green Belt and Countryside, as it will result in a non conforming use in the green belt;

7) The proposal is contrary to Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan Policy TRA2 in respect of capacity of road network, as the occupants of the development will be car reliant;

8) The proposal is contrary to Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan Policy E8 as it will affect the setting of Areas of Outstanding Landscape Quality and will impact on the long views to the Pentlands designated Area of Great Landscape Value;

9) The granting of planning permission would be premature and would not accord with the provisions of paragraph 34 of Scottish Planning Policy in respect of this;

B. Removing planning Conditions 19, 20 and 21 that were recommended by planning officers at the pre-determination hearing;

AND

C. Leaving pedestrian and cycle connectivity to the site in question, which could have been secured through conditions and informatives as follows;

Conditions

1.a No development shall take place until details of a pedestrian and cycle connection for the purpose of crossing the City Bypass between the application site and Edinburgh Park is submitted and approved by the Council as planning authority.

1.b The aforementioned connection shall be installed and operational prior to the occupation of the first residential unit forming part of this planning permission.

Reason: To ensure satisfactory pedestrian and cycle connectivity to the city and public transport.

2. Details of a segregated cycleway running through the site between the Union Canal towpath and RBS at Gogarburn shall be submitted along with the first application for approval of matters specified in condition.

Reason: To ensure safe commuting by cycle across the site.

Informative

LEGAL AGREEMENT: A construction traffic management plan that shall promote safety of pedestrians and cycles on Gogar Station Road by controlling traffic on it shall be submitted and approved by the Head of Planning and Transport.

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