Thursday May 14th 2015
By Phil Bowen
The Midlothian Landscape and Communities Protection Group (MLCP) has been formed to challenge the Midlothian local Development Plan (MLDP) and its effect on Midlothian communities.
Their aim is simple, in the same way that C comes before D then Communities should come before Development.
At their inaugural meeting last week, Duncan Cambell, from the Edinburgh and Lothian Greenbelt Network and the Cockburn Association, gave an historical overview of the loss of Greenbelt to developers and the threat to the loss of community identities, which is described by the term Coalescence. He said a greater understanding of population growth for Lothian and Scotland is required to allow housing to develop in a more controlled manner. He also stated that far more consideration be given to infrastructure, especially roads, schools, GP surgeries and hospital beds.
The group are very much aware of the lack of school places and delays in GP surgery appointments as well as the lengthening hospital waiting lists and A&E waiting times.
The feeling of the group, formed from a wide geographical area of Midlothian, was that the MLDP needs to be actioned in a more controlled manner in conjunction with local affected communities views and needs. The group feel community identities need to be kept and coalescence prevented from happening. Furthermore Greenbelt should be protected and only used as a last resort.
The group wish to identify already sanctioned greenbelt and greenfield sites which have been land banked by the developers, as well as identify areas of brownfield sites in Midlothian which should have priority status for developing.
The group also recognise the need for social housing in the area which has a large waiting list.
At the MLCP meeting a working group was established to review the MLDP publication which is out today, Thursday 14th May.
George Barnes, Chairman of the MLCP, told Midlothian View that they plan to hold a large public meeting in the week commencing 8th June to which the local councillors who sanctioned the plan behind closed doors, will be asked to attend to answer questions which the public want answered.
You can view the Midlothian Local Development Plan HERE
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