Call for end to communities ‘subsidising’ new developments

Tuesday October 10th 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Calls for an end to communities ‘subsidising’ new developments through road closures have been made after a controversial 12-week shut down of a busy route.

Midlothian councillors today called on officers to draw up a new set of rules for house builders to meet as part of their planning applications to avoid future disruption.

The move came after Councillor Stephen Curran was forced to admit he could not vote for a motion he had brought to a meeting of elected members calling for the closure of Old Craighall Road, at Millerhill, to be reversed. Councillor Curran told a meeting of the full council that it had become clear the legal consequences of trying to withdraw the approved traffic order allowing the road closure were not acceptable.

And he told fellow councillors “we should be embarrassed we allowed this to happen in the first place”.

His frustration came after an attempt, was rejected in August to have an urgent motion calling for the 12-week closure to allow house builders Cala to carry out construction work on a new 620-home housing development at nearby Newton and Wellington farms.

By the time it came back to council this week the closure had been approved and the road shut for a month.

Midlothian Council said the closure would allow upgrading work which is being planned for the road including creating a bus park and ride and new spine road.

However it sparked anger from some users on social media with one describing new housing developments in the area as a ‘legoland’.

At today’s meeting fellow councillors Russell Imrie and Derek Milligan brought an amendment to Councillor Curran’s motion, asking for changes to be made so future developments could be questioned on plans which will disrupt communities at planning stages.

The amendment called for officers to produce a set of protocols for dealing with road closures around new developments to be brought before the planning committee so that “this set of protocols are incorporated into any new planning application”.

Councillor Curran accepted the amendment to his motion telling the meeting: “It is not for our communities to subsidise developers with road disruption for up to 18 months or road closures.”

Councillor Russell Imrie, who serves as planning convenor, told the meeting: “Our communities should hot have to suffer these disruptions, It is about a balance and getting it right.”

The meeting agreed to the amended motion to bring back a new set of rules for developers.

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