£22.4m Pentland project appeal put on hold

Wednesday May 10th 2023

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The 11-hectare site proposed for New Pentland was refused permission because two-thirds of it was classed as countryside in the Local Development Plan.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A bid to overturn a council decision to reject a £22.4million housing plan in Midlothian has been put on hold after new national guidelines were challenged.

Scottish Ministers were asked to step in after the proposals for a care home and housing near Straiton, were refused permission.

However the case has been delayed until the outcome of another planning appeal by Miller Homes over housing in West Calder which has called into question the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF4).

The new NPF4 policy includes a section referred to as policy 16 which sets out the exceptional circumstances which would allow housing to be built in the countryside – but West Lothian Council has argued it is ‘incompatible’ with previously approved guidance in its Local Development Plan.

And developers of the Pentland project have been told any decision on their plans will have to wait for the outcome of the West Lothian challenge as it may affect the decision.

Midlothian Council refused to grant planning permission for the £22.4 million plan to build a care home and affordable housing on ‘disused’ land which developers claim would create hundreds of jobs in Midlothian.

The proposal by Pentland Park Marine Ltd for land next to Straiton retail park was thrown out by councillors at a meeting in August last year after planners said two-thirds of the site was on designated countryside.

Developers, however, argued the land was ‘fallow’ and had lain unused for 50 years.

They appealed to Scottish Ministers to overturn the decision saying the project would not only create jobs by provide much needed community services as well as homes for local residents later in their lives.

Now they have been told the appeal is on hold after Scottish Ministers called in the West Lothian appeal by Miller Homes saying it “raises national issues in terms of the application of NPF4″.

In a letter to those involved in the Pentland appeal the Scottish Government Reporter said: ” Submissions in that case directly challenge the application of all elements of NPF4 Policy 16 prior to adoption of ‘new style’ LDPs.

“Ministers consider that this raises national issues in terms of the application of NPF4.

“Recalling the appeal for Ministers’ own determination will provide an opportunity for Ministers to set out, in their decision letter, more detail on how the policy should be applied.”

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