Monday February 18th 2019
Written by the Save Kippielaw Campaign Group
Local residents are outraged at yet another attack on their local community from developers. These are sustained and deliberate attacks amounting to harassment. Since 2004 this will be the fourth attempt by the landowner to offer this piece of countryside to developers for profit.
The last time this happened was as recently as the 2017 Local Plan when all 18 Councillors rejected the landowner’s housing proposals for Kippielaw.
The Save Kippielaw Campaign received cross party support from MPs ,MSPs, Local Councillors and Community Councils to reject the unnecessary housing and save the green space for the community. The 2017 Local Plan received 2100 comments from residents in the whole of Midlothian. 1300 of these were objections to the Kippielaw Site.
The campaign group have now discovered that Council officials have been in negotiations with the landowner to construct a deal whereby the Council will re-zone the land from countryside to housing development in return for a piece of land and a financial contribution to build a new primary school.
Local democracy has now been replaced by developer greed supported by council officials who think they know better than our elected councillors.
This time round the landowner has doubled the area being proposed for housing. Increasing from 18 acres last time to 50 acres, the site includes the “triangle field” which separates Easthouses from Kippielaw and will also cross Easthouses Road joining Easthouses Way to Woodburn at the A68.
Based on recent planning applications in Mayfield, the campaign group estimate the number of new houses to be around 500. Ironically with a primary school pupil ratio of 0.5 pupils per new house, the sacrificed land will generate around 250 extra pupils making the problem of lack of school capacity even worse.
500 new houses will create around 1,250 new residents for the local area. GP practices are already stretched to breaking point. We need more GP practices not more houses.
The 2017 Local Plan states that Midlothian has met the targets for new housing set by the Scottish Government with a margin of nearly 20% flexibility overall, so there is no need for sites such as Kippielaw to be allocated for housing.
Mayfield and Easthouses have been allocated a major share of new housing in the local plan. Around 900 new houses have been proposed excluding this site. Potentially this would increase the population of Mayfield and Easthouses by 3500 residents, a 40% increase to the existing population of around 8,000. It is completely unrealistic to expect this part of Midlothian to absorb another 500 new houses simply to fund the cost of a primary school.
Even if further sites were required for housing, this would not be an appropriate choice. Kippielaw has been rejected three times already for a whole raft of reasons:
– It would lead to the coalescence of Easthouses and Dalkeith depriving each of its separate identity.
– It is prime agricultural farmland producing much needed food for the nation.
– It is treasured green space designated by planners as countryside.
– There is a 10” diameter high pressure gas pipeline bisecting the site on both sides of Easthouses Road with a Blast Zone corridor of 34metres leaving residents with unacceptable risks in the event of a pipe fracture.
– These lands are widely used and appreciated by local residents who otherwise would have no green space between the centre of Dalkeith and the top of Mayfield.
– Further development would result in increased pressure on local services including schools at primary and secondary level, GP practices, and increased traffic flow on Easthouses Road.
– The campaign group understand that the Council has alternative sites available for a new primary school in the event that this site is rejected. Surely they should look to these alternatives rather than sell off our remaining green space for a short term cash payment.
– The Local Plan Review process is the appropriate place to discuss major planning issues such as re-zoning huge chunks of countryside for alternative uses. Individual speculative planning applications are not the appropriate forum to use to create an amended Local Plan. This just makes a mockery of the Local Plan process and renders the MLDP worthless.
-The Local Plan is an agreement between Midlothian Council and the Community. Development such as this is a fundamental breach of that agreement. A breach of Trust.Tweet Share on Facebook