1,000 homes bordering Newtongrange, Mayfield and Gowkshill approved

Friday March 3rd 2023


The site of the Lingerwood development.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A sprawling new housing estate with 1000 homes has been approved despite concerns it will merge three separate communities into one giant ‘suburbia.’

Springfield Properties put forward plans for the Lingerwood development of up to 1,000 homes on bordering Newtongrange, Mayfield and Gowkshill, in Midlothian, as a new ‘sustainable’ community with its own shops, parks and leisure facilities.

However the application for planning permission in principle saw nearly 80 objections and raised concerns about its impact on the neighbouring communities and schools.

At a meeting of Midlothian planning committee on Tuesday councillors raised the issue of coalescence as they argued the new development would simply join up surrounding areas.

Councillor Bryan Pottinger said the site was likely to merge Newtongrange, Mayfield and Gowkshill into “one large suburbia area.”

And fellow councillor Stephen Curran agreed saying: “I defy anyone looking at the image produced in the application to deny that it is the coming together of separate towns and villages into a single entity.

“Each of these villages have their own identities and their own characters.”

Planning chief Peter Arnsdorf said that when the site was first put forward for housing in 2003 it was judged the link up of communities was acceptable as they shared facilities such as education.

He told the committee: “Coalescence is not always a bad thing, it is a weighing up of if it is okay, which in some cases it is and in others it is not.”

Councillor Douglas Bowen said there were concerns in Newtongrange about the merging of communities and pointed out that a bid to build on the site in 2009 was refused because of overdevelopment.

He said: “To me there is no difference now, it is still an overdevelopment.”

Concerns were also raised about the lack of school provision for children from families moving into the new housing.

Councillor Ellen Scott said it was clear a new secondary school was needed adding that Newbattle High School, which serves the area “does not have elastic walls.”

And fellow councillor Peter Smaill also raised concern about schooling saying a new secondary now cost £80 million when it used to be £50 million as well as huge increases in costs for primaries.

He added that developer contribution levels for education would have to be increased.

Councillor Curran moved a motion against agreeing the plans in principle, seconded by Councillor Pottinger, however it was outvoted by the committee members who voted to approve the application.

Martin Egan, chief operating officer for Springfield, welcomed the decision saying the new site would ‘complement’ nearby residential areas.

He said: “This planning consent marks a major milestone for a significant development that will bring forward excellent quality, energy efficient homes for people in Midlothian.

“Lingerwood will see the creation of a thriving village that can sustain the needs of local people for years to come.

“It will be a best-in-class example of placemaking and we are confident that it will complement nearby established residential areas that already have distinct identities.”

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