Green Planning spokesperson, Nigel Bagshaw, explains why he proposed an alternative to the Edinburgh Local Development Plan.
Last week the majority of Edinburgh Council’s Planning Committee voted to pass the Local Development Plan (LDP), which will have far-reaching consequences for the city.
It essentially paves the way for unsustainable suburban estates which will provide very little affordable housing but create significant problems for a city which is already struggling with poor air quality, congestion, and pressure on local infrastructure.
Scottish Government-imposed housing need figures could have been met by using sites earmarked for housing rather than other purposes, by increasing densities, and by bringing empty homes back into use.
The LDP proponent claim it will make Edinburgh a ‘successful’ city, improve ‘quality of life’ and ‘promote the city’s assets’. However, what it will actually do is degrade the environment, make the city less pleasant and destroy open space, biodiversity and natural habitat.
It is a missed opportunity to improve the city, to provide more affordable homes – and homes in compact, sustainable neighbourhoods, built around active travel and public transport, where local shops and services can thrive, rather than further urban sprawl.
And that is precisely why I we voted against it and in favour of a different vision of the city’s future as set out in my motion below.
MOTION BY GREEN COUNCILLOR NIGEL BAGSHAW
1. Recognises the established need for more affordable housing in the city;
2. Recognises the unrealistic nature of the identified housing requirement for 107,000 homes in the South East of Scotland which significantly exceeds all recent rates of construction;
3. Notes the need to bring back into use the up to 2,000 homes in Edinburgh which lie empty for more than 6 months, to re-examine housing densities, and to give priority to housing in existing urban areas in order to make full use of brownfield land;
4. Recognises that the changing demography of the city region and the way that it is reflected in household formation is unlikely to be best-fulfilled by building low density housing in suburban estates.
5. Recognises that, despite the formal consultation process, the citizens of Edinburgh have no real means of influencing the content of the proposed LDP;
6. Recognises that the impact of the LDP on transport, schools, the environment and air quality have not been adequately addressed;
7. Recognises therefore that the city’s current housing requirements can be met by the use of brownfield land and that there is at present no need for the inclusion of any of the greenfield sites set out in the plan;
8. Concludes that the LDP fails to meet the requirements and obligations of the City of Edinburgh in terms of affordable housing, infrastructure provision, biodiversity, air quality, congestion and climate change, and therefore requires that all the proposals relating to greenfield sites be removed from the plan.