Land News

Protesters' fury over homes for green belt, 13th September, 2004

Residents campaigning to protect a green belt site on the outskirts of Edinburgh have been dealt a major blow after the land was earmarked for housing development by the Scottish Executive.

Reporters acting for the Executive recommended that a site at Liberton Drive be removed from the city’s green belt and made available for housing.

The announcement has been met with anger and dismay by local residents and groups who had worked to preserve the site.

Derek Kennedy, chairman of the Liberton Association, said: "This is absolutely outrageous. This is an area of critical landscape value. It is a particularly beautiful part of the green belt and I’m horrified at the recommendations.

"This isn’t just a little green corner. It’s an integral part of the green belt and the location of Liberton House and Liberton Tower enhances the rural quality of the area."

His views were echoed by Brian Harrison, who lives close to the threatened site.

He said: "I’m shocked at the decision after all the hard work that has gone in over the years to keep it in the green belt.

"It’s a superb place and it’s beyond me why they’d make such a recommendation. We believe we should be safeguarding the area for future generations."

The public inquiry was held to discuss objections from several builders.

The developers were seeking a change to classification of a number of sites around the city so they could be made available for development.

Liberton Drive was the only site recommended by the Executive for housing allocation. The report also flies in the face of Edinburgh City Council’s stand on the issue after the council backed residents’ appeals to keep the site’s green belt status.

Last September city council leader Donald Anderson said he would be "amazed" if the council’s decision was overturned.

He said: "We have taken a pretty firm line over a long period of time in our opposition to the deletion of the green belt, and nothing has changed.

"We are still resolutely behind the decisions we have taken to preserve these areas."

Despite the latest setback, residents have vowed to fight on to stop the site being used for housing.

Mr Kennedy said: "The rural context will be totally destroyed if the site is taken out of the green belt and we will not take this lying down. I can guarantee that this isn’t something we’ll be accepting and there will be protests from many residents."

Mr Harrison added: "This is not the end of it. Now the opposition will really start to stop any building."

The co-ordinator of the Edinburgh and Lothian Green Belt Network, Duncan Campbell, was equally sure the reporters’ recommendations would not be the end of the issue.

He said: "If the site is now de-designated it will make it easier for developers to put in planning applications so it will become more difficult to argue in policy terms.

"But that isn’t to say that the size of developments, landscaping issues and loss of green space won’t be argued.

"There are other issues that would have to be examined to sustain the environmental and quality of life issues of local people."

There is still hope for the campaigners in the shape of the council’s planning department, who could reject the recommendations.

A spokesman for the council said that a decision had not been made and the matter would be discussed by the planning committee in due course.

More news >

RSS Feed - Really Simple Syndication
What is RSS?

Sponsored Links