Green council and Holyrood candidates will today (Monday) meet with local residents opposing Ratho housing developments proposed in the greenbelt to view the areas under threat. Proposals to build over 100 new homes and a marina have sparked fears that it will swamp the existing community, turn Ratho into a dormitory village and overwhelm the local transport infrastructure.

Mark Ballard said, “Green and open space should be treasured in its own right; not simply regarded as a “development opportunity”. We need a new plan that will genuinely defend greenbelt land, not sacrifice it to housing, retail, or office developments with little or no consideration given to the long-term needs of communities.”

As well as new housing in Ratho, the current local plans include other proposals for the greenbelt such as another development near the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, the expansion of Edinburgh airport and the relocation of the Royal Highland Showground.

Mr Ballard added, “Edinburgh’s compactness and easy access to the countryside is one of the things that makes it a great place to live and work – undermining this by building left, right and centre over the greenbelt will undermine this. We must resist any more urban sprawl.

“Greens elected to Holyrood and the city council will join forces with local residents to oppose erosion of the greenbelt. The Greens are the only party committed to protecting green space both in and around our city.”
Green candidate for Pentland Hills ward Shonagh McEwan said, “The current rural west Edinburgh local plan, adopted by the council in 2005 despite around 200 objections from Ratho alone, needs to be re-written. Only in exceptional circumstances should greenbelt ever be built on but these proposals certainly don’t fit into that category.”

Greens want a moratorium on new developments on the greenbelt within Edinburgh council boundaries until a new local plan is agreed which properly protects greenbelt. Greens argue that only in exceptional circumstances should greenbelt be developed, and are concerned that too much is being lost to plans that are ill-conceived and meet the needs only of developers, rather than the long-term needs of communites.