Nursery house approved

Friday May 24th 2019

Happy Days Nursery Eskbank

Happy Days Nursery Eskbank

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A bid to build a house in the grounds of a children’s nursery to help provide funds for its future has been given the go-ahead after an appeal to the Scottish Government.

More than 50 letters of support were received by Midlothian Council backing the proposals to build the new house next to Happy Days nursery at Eskbank, Dalkeith.

But despite the support, and recommendations that the plans were approved by their own officers, councillors rejected the proposals on the grounds it was against the character of the conservation area.

Now a Scottish Government Reporter has overturned the decision granting planning permission on appeal.

Ruling in favour of developers, the reporter said that a visit to the site at Eskview Villas revealed that although it was in a conservation area, the area itself had already seen “pressure for new development” pointing to recent planning permissions granted within yards of the proposed site.

He ruled that the new house would not have an impact on the surrounding area and would be “markedly less visibly” than a neighbouring development which was already under way.

The plans, which went before Midlothian Council in January, received 15 objections with concerns about the impact on traffic and parking raised, as well as claims it would be out of character with the conservation area.

However, they received 51 representations of support, with those backing the plan saying it would improve security at the nursery as well as providing additional funding for the facility.

Supporters said the proposed house was well designed and in an area where homes were in demand.

They added that the nursery would invest the funds generated from the private development back into the children’s nursery, which they said was a much-needed facility used by over 70 local families.

And they argued that the presence of a residential property on the site would increase “passive surveillance of the nursery”, citing an incident in April last year when a break-in caused thousands of pounds’ worth of loss and damage to the nursery.

In a statement to the reporter, developers said plans to build a private home on the land, owned by the nursery owners, had been put forward because “the nursery and related building is in need of modernisation”.

Granting planning permission for the new house, the reporter said that he disagreed with comments that the house would have an adverse effect on Eskbank and Ironmills Conservation Area, which it is in.

He said: “I conclude that the scale, choice of materials and design of the proposed house preserves and enhances the character and appearance of the Eskbank and Ironmills Conservation Area.”

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