Homeowner wins appeal after ‘sacrificing’ garage for extension

Newton Village

The house in Newton Village.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A pair of homeowners have won their fight to build an extension in their back garden after councillors were impressed they were willing to ‘sacrifice’ their garage.

Ross and Lisa McPhee appealed to Midlothian Council’s Local Review Body after planners rejected their plans for a new front porch and rear extension claiming the extension would be ‘out of character’ with the area.

They argued that other properties in Newton Village, where they live have similar extensions and challenged claims it would harm the character of the street saying there was “nothing of architectural interest” there.

A meeting of the review body today backed the couple after members visited the street and were told the couple’s garage would be replaced by the extension in the garden.

The original planning application for the extension and porch was refused by officers who said its design was out of character, against policy and would have an overbearing impact on the neighbour’s garden.

Councillor Peter Smaill, review body member, said that in his view replacing the garage with the extension would not have an impact on the street and moved a motion to uphold the appeal and grant planning permission.

He was backed by Councillor Willie McEwan who said: “The visit to the site was very important to me because when I witnessed the sacrifice of the garage, the owner giving up the garage for the extension.

“Had it not been for the sacrifice of the garage I might not have been so sympathetic.”

Councillor Cassidy made the point in the meeting that it was important for councillors to visit the sites of planning applications to get a clearer view of what is being applied for rather than just relying on documentation. He said

“What we see out there is a completely different representation from what you get on paper.”

The appeal was upheld unanimously.

Dad fights for house for disabled son

Roseview Steading planning

The land at Roseview Farm Steading, Penicuik

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A dad’s bid to build a home for his son, who lost his leg in a road accident as a teenager, has been rejected by planners concerned it will put trees which have not yet been planted at risk.

Christopher McCallum, who lives at Roseview Farm Steading, Penicuik, applied for planning permission in principle from Midlothian Council to build his son, also Christopher, a home on land behind his own house.

Christopher Jnr, 20, was involved in the accident when he was just 14 leading to the loss of his left leg.

His dad told planners his son’s rehabilitation had been long and difficult and the family moved to the countryside so he could be near horses as equine therapy had proved successful.

The proposed new house would include a horse paddock.

Mr McCallum snr told the council: “Six years ago, my son was involved in a horrific road traffic accidents which unfortunately resulted in him having an above-the-knee amputation of his left leg.

“This has been a traumatic experience, particularly as he was only 14-years-old when it happened.

“I strongly feel that having the opportunity to create a new tailor-made dwelling could dramatically improve his quality of life.”

However planners refused the application after pointing out the site suggested for the new home had been set aside for new tree planting to mitigate the building of the original house on the site.

They said to date no trees had been planted adding: “it is noted that in the assessment of the application for the approval of the Manor House in 2013, that the tree and landscape planting was considered to be critical to the success of this development.”

Refusing planning permission in principle officers said: “The proposed development conflicts with the native tree planting shown on the
approved landscape plan for the site. As such, the proposed development would result in the loss of the planned landscape and biodiversity enhancements for the site and wider development.”

Following the decision Mr McCallum confirmed the family are now considering an appeal.

People could get the ‘right to grow’ fruit and veg on Edinburgh Council land

Right to grow

Vegetable patches could be created on council land. Image: Incredible Edibles.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

People in Edinburgh could be given the “right to grow” their own food on council-owned land under a new initiative.

Councillors passed a motion calling on officials to explore adopting a policy allowing fruit and vegetables to be grown in public spaces deemed “suitable for cultivation”.

They agreed the cost of living crisis was impacting “the ability to afford good quality fresh food” whilst noting a shortage of allotments in the city.

Cllr Hal Osler, who tabled the motion, said:“What this is about is looking at our city and basically, all of us know within our city there is some blank spaces not being utilised properly – and they could be utilised so much better.

“There’s large expanses of just space that’s locked away, that’s got fences around it and it’s basically just neglected or abandoned.

“We are massively in a cost of living crisis, there are enormous problems with that of people being able to afford food.

“But also other aspect about growing food that’s really really important is people having a connection to it – actually understanding where your food comes from.

“In an urban city there area a large number of individuals that are very disconnected with their food.”

The Lib Dem councillor added: “It is very challenging, we are very behind on our allotment strategy, we know there’s a large desire for it.

“Allotment provision is fantastic but our list is so long for this and it’s not getting any shorter.

“It is about encouraging individuals who spotted a piece of land to come towards us and saying ‘can I do this here’ and trying to remove the barriers from that.”

It comes after Hull City Council became the first authority in the UK to support the introduction of a right to grow.

Councillors there asked for a “map of all council-owned land suitable for community cultivation that is publicly available at no cost to residents, and actively promoted across all wards”.

Campaign group Incredible Edibles welcomed the move and called on other councils to follow suit and said: “Up and down the country public land is being left loved, costing our local authorities money to care for, and giving nothing back to the community in return.

“With a little TLC, these parcels of land can be turned into oases for food and wildlife. The biggest obstacle to more local food growing is the lack of available land close to people’s homes.

“The land is there across our public realm, from verges to unloved, often forgotten, sites. In the middle of the cost of living crisis unlocking local healthy food could be a life line for many communities offering practical hope for everyone.”

The motion agreed by Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Communities Committee last Thursday requested officers to draft a report “looking into the possibility of whether Edinburgh could also adopt “a right to grow” policy on Council-owned land that is deemed suitable for cultivation”.