Safety fears see Penicuik waterside housing appeal thrown out

Tuesday January 24th 2023


Artists impression of the detached houses proposed for the waterfront site in Penicuik. Picture Midlothian planning portal.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Concern over emergency access to homes on a private street saw plans for more housing on the road thrown out by Midlothian councillors this week.

Plans for four detached houses with gardens stretching down a slope and across a local mill lade, on the outskirts of Penicuik, were originally rejected by planners who received 11 objections to the proposals.

The three storey split level homes would appear to be one storey at street level but build down the slope towards the water with two footbridges across the lade proposed to link up some of the garden space.

Applicant Craig Meikle appealed to Midlothian Council’s Local Review Body insisting the new homes matched planning policies and should be allowed.

A meeting of the review body heard councillors who had visited the land at Cairnbank Road, Penicuik, raise concerns about emergency access to homes already on the street as well as the garden design.

Councillor Kelly Drummond said: “It is not a particularly wide road. There are a few passing places but once you start having construction traffic on this road I feel it would be generally unsafe for the other residents should there be an emergency.”

However Councillor Colin Cassidy disagreed saying: “This is a private road, I don’t think we can sit as judges and say ‘there might be a fire, there might be an ambulance needs to get along there’.

“There are houses already there on that road and I don’t think there has every been any problems and I don’t think adding another four houses is going to add majorly to any problems.”

Councillor Connor McManus, who moved a motion to refuse the appeal, also questioned the proposed gardens for the split level houses.

He said: “I do have some concerns about this application just based on the location.

“I have concerns about the garden, it is not flat land, I don’t feel it is usable as a garden. In this scenario we have an unsafe area at the bottom.”

The review body was also told trees and hedgerow on the land would need to be removed as part of the new development.

Councillors voted by five votes to three to refuse the appeal.

Watch the meeting discussion and see the councillors’ decision process in the video below.


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