South East Scotland plan “Madness for Midlothian” say Greens

Wednesday October 7th 2015

Midlothian Green Party says proposals for the new South East Scotland Plan (SESPlan) – on which the public were asked to comment last week – will lead to Midlothian becoming a gridlocked commuter belt for Edinburgh.

The SESPlan Main Issues Report – which has been out for public consultation since July – says that the amount of land allocated for housing in Midlothian is already more than twice the amount required to meet Midlothian’s needs.

Green Councillor Ian Baxter (Bonnyrigg) said: “Midlothian is being asked to meet Edinburgh’s demand for housing. But communities in Midlothian are already deeply concerned about loss of green spaces and community identity. New private housing developments are springing up on the fringes of existing towns and villages. All too often these are commuter enclaves that contribute little to Midlothian life, but clog up our roads with yet more traffic. We need a radically different strategy that focuses on revitalising our failing town centres and reducing the need for travel.”

Daya Feldwick, Midlothian Green Candidate and activist, said: “the SESPlan proposals are madness for Midlothian. We need a Green Midlothian, not a Greater Edinburgh. The planners believe concreting over Midlothian is the answer to Edinburgh’s projected growth. But more roads and more private houses won’t even meet Edinburgh’s needs, let alone Midlothian’s.”

“More than half of the housing need in Edinburgh, and two thirds of the need in Midlothian, is for council housing. But the only plan for meeting that need is allocating massive areas of greenfield land for private housing, and pleading with the developers to make some of those houses ‘affordable’. It just can’t work.”

Councillor Baxter said: “People in Midlothian are fed up with local politicians nodding through every single new development without question. It’s time for a radical change. We are now calling for some of the massive over-allocation of land for housing in Midlothian to be reversed. Some of that land needs to be released for other uses or protected from any development. Let’s breath life back into our towns, protect our green spaces and give people control over their own communities again.”

Midlothian Green Party submitted its response to the SESPlan consultation last week, which you can read HERE SESPlan will now review all comments submitted and produce a ‘Proposed Plan’ for submission to councillors in May 2016. There will then be a further public consultation on the Proposed Plan.

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