Benefits of the Proposal
In response to the comments received by the local public during the consultation in November 2019, the Masterplan has been significantly altered to address the points raised. Ultimately, we wish to ensure that this development becomes an integrated part of the community whilst bringing additional benefits to the area.
Meeting Housing Need
Our research has found that while Edinburgh does currently have enough Housing Land Supply, there is significant market and affordable housing need throughout the City. The implications of Covid-19 are also likely to have a detrimental impact on housing delivery and the rate of residential completions. This will place additional strain on meeting the identified housing need across the City Council area.
The proposed development has the potential to provide a range of high-quality housing which will positively contribute to Edinburgh’s Housing Land Supply. The proposals include both private and affordable homes as well as providing 30% affordable housing which is higher than the 25% requirement set by the Council.
This proposal presents an opportunity for new homes to be delivered in the short term, contributing positively to both the market and affordable housing supply in the City of Edinburgh. Not only this, but the proposal is supported by an array of additional infrastructure which will support the development and benefit the local community.
Delivering Community Facilities
Our research has indicated that there is a growing demand for healthcare facilities within Balerno. There is no surgery in Balerno and the nearest doctor’s surgery to the Site is The Pentlands Medical Centre, located approximately 2 miles to the east of the Site in Currie. The masterplan framework indicates that the Site will be able to accommodate a Doctor’s Surgery which will be of a benefit to the new residents and also the wider community.
The indicative masterplan submitted with this proposal also indicates that there is capacity to provide a community facility of up to 500m² which will be sited a location that is easily accessible for both those living within the development and the wider community in Balerno. Full details of the community facility have not yet been finalised. The online consultation survey offers participants to express what type of community facilities may be appropriate in this location.
While the masterplan framework does not allocate any of the development site for education, given the expansive green space indicated on the plan, there is the opportunity for the green spaces to be used by local schools within the area for sport. It is anticipated that this would ease pressure on existing school sites and allow more space for modular classrooms within the vicinities of existing school sites, to provide a quick solution to additional classroom need.
An extended bus route and terminus is also proposed to be incorporated within the development which will greatly improve connectivity within the northern area of Balerno and encourage the use of public transport.
Creating Public Amenity Space
The Masterplan includes extensive areas of play and open space. These spaces will be integrated into the development to allow for safe and easy access. The masterplan also includes an area for community allotments which can be utilised by the wider population of Balerno.
The former railway line which runs through the site will be formed into a new pedestrian/cycle route providing a valuable connection to the surrounding countryside and into Balerno.
Providing High Quality Landscaping
The revised masterplan aims to enhance the landscape setting to the north of the site and will introduce footpath connections leading through areas of open space.
The mature trees which surround the site will also be retained to provide containment from the existing development to the south as well as reducing the visual impact from the north. In addition, new tree and landscape planting along the edges of the development will enhance the rural edge of the site and further mitigate visual impact. The built edge of development will also be set back to provide relief from the site boundary and further enhance the landscaping around the perimeter.
Securing a defensible boundary
This site represents a natural extension to Balerno in an area which has seen some housing growth over the last decade. with two sites immediately adjacent to the site under construction (Kingfisher Park and Ravelrig Heights). Therefore, this site is a logical extension for future residential development.
There are a number of contextual features which make this a logical choice for residential-led development in a way which will not encourage further urban sprawl. This includes the railway line to the north of the site, the existing dense tree belt to the west and east and the disused railway line which runs through the site in an east/west direction.
Overall, the site is considered effective and acts as a natural extension of the settlement, with clear defensible boundaries which will limit further expansion within Balerno.