Gorebridge housing development referred to Scottish Ministers

Wednesday February 23rd 2022


Stobs Farm on the outskirts of Gorebridge.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A bid to build 308 houses on the edge of Gorebridge has been taken to Scottish Ministers after planners took too long to make a decision.

Plans for housing on farmland south of Gorebridge will be decided by the Scottish Government Reporter after Hallam Land Management lodged an appeal.

The development company which wants to build on land at Stobs Farm on the outskirts of the town said Midlothian Council’s failure to make a decision in the extended deadline given gave them cause for the action.

It is the second ongoing appeal to Scottish Ministers by housebuilders because of delays in decision making by the local authority.

In December Lochay Homes, who want to build more than 40 bungalows on a former school site near the village of Howgate took their case to appeal after no decision was made.

The latest planning application was originally lodged with the council’s planners in April last year.

Although the site is prime agricultural land, Hallan Land Management argue that the local authority is not going to meet its housing targets in the next two years which allows them to put forward their proposal.

They say a report on the housing land supply showed there was not enough land to meet the housing targets required by 2024.

And in their appeal to Scottish Ministers they say: “Case law also confirms that a ‘tilted balance’ in favour of granting planning permission applies in cases where a shortfall in the effective housing land supply emerges.

“In these circumstances, planning permission should only be refused where disbenefits of a proposal can be shown to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

“There are no disbenefits that outweigh the benefits of the appeal proposal.”

The proposed new housing estate would be accessed off Lady Brae in the town, which drew some objections from local residents and the council’s own transport consultant who pointed out the road only has a single hourly bus service and additional housing would ‘intensify’ traffic and could cause congestion at peak hours.

The Reporter is expected to carry out a site visit as part of the appeal.

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