Hillend housing bid turned down

Wednesday August 11th 2021


The site of the former petrol station on the A702 near Hillend.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A fresh bid to build houses on a ‘troubled’ greenbelt site has been rejected by Midlothian planners over a lack of garden space.

The former petrol station site near Hillend had been earmarked for a hotel until the pandemic hit and the plans were scrapped.

An alternative application to build 14 flats and two houses on the site, was also turned down after it was deemed too big.

And now a smaller, more “sensitive” bid to have nine houses built on the site has also been rejected after planners raised concern that the gardens would be too small.

The land, which lies 70 metres north of the A702 junction with Pentland Road and the A703, has not been used as a petrol station for 20 years and in recent times has had car wash services and Christmas tree sellers use it.

In 2009, planning permission was granted for the hotel to be built on the site; however, plans were delayed by the financial crash the year before and were eventually shelved following lockdown.

At the time applicants C.M. Roofing and Building Ltd described the site as “troubled” telling Midlothian Council:

“The recent pandemic has caused the latest well-advanced initiative to fail and it is now anticipated that the hotel sector will take yet another ten years to recover to pre-pandemic profitability.”

However their initial bid for housing on the land was rejected.

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A second bid has now also been thrown out despite reducing the number of homes and style.

Appealing for approval of the smaller application, the applicants told the council:

“On this occasion, the architectural design solution proposed has been more sensitively considered in relation to its semi-rural setting adjacent the Pentlands Regional park.

“The size and scale of the proposed development has been significantly reduced to minimise the impact in its setting.”

However planners ruled the houses would be built on land which has been classed as green belt against council policy and raised concerns about the garden sizes.

They said council standards insisted houses with three apartments required garden ground of at least 110 metres squared, while the proposed gardens or the development ranged from 40m squared to 77 metre squared.

One public objection was lodged with the plans citing road safety.

Recommending the plans for refusal, planning officers said:

“Whilst it is noted that some of the concerns/matters raised above could be addressed by the applicant, it is noted that there is no policy support or other material considerations to warrant the approval of dwellings at the application site.”

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