CRAMOND & BARNTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)
Draft Minutes of Meeting held on 28 November 2013 in Cramond Kirk
Present: Andrew Mather (Chair), Patricia Eason (Interim Secretary), Ross Wilkinson, Percy Feketey, Jane Neville, Isa Browning, Peter Scott, Marion Mitchell, Mark Whittet, Bert Scott and Jean Morley.
Apologies: Councillor Lindsay Paterson
A total of some 200 residents were present, including members. Councillor Alistair Shields also attended.
Welcome and introductions
Opening the meeting, Andrew Mather said that the meeting had been arranged to discuss the proposed housing development in Cammo. There would be a presentation by 4 representatives of Halliday Fraser Munro who were acting on behalf of the landowner, Cramond and Harthill Estates.
Andrew noted that a central feature of the Local Development Plan adopted by Edinburgh City Council was that additional housing needed to be provided in the city for a projected population increase of 50,000. The Cammo site adjacent to Maybury Road had originally been identified as a possible site for some of this additional housing, but was now in the “probable” category. He invited the representatives of Halliday Fraser Munro to give their presentation following which there would be an opportunity for questions and comment.
Hazel Sears (Regional Planning Director), Patricia Alston (Landscape Architect), Douglas Bisset (Transport Engineer) and Lucy Styles (Architect) then gave their presentation. They explained that the Local Development Plan had been prepared by the Council in March 2013, and that the Cammo site was one of 30 sites identified for potential development. Halliday Fraser Munro (HFM), acting on behalf of the landowner, had submitted a Planning Application Notification (PAN) – in other words notice of intention to submit a planning application – to the Council in September 2013. The next step was to draw up a master plan for the site, which would be submitted to the Council along with an application for outline planning permission. It was hoped that this application would be made in Spring 2014. As part of preparing the application for outline planning permission there was a requirement to consult the local community. An exhibition had been held in the Millennium Hall earlier in the month, which had been attended by 170 people. 85 comment forms had been received. The present meeting was also part of the consultation. Any other comments should be put in by 20 December. Further consultation would follow when the draft master plan had been drawn up. If the Council gave outline planning permission, developers would follow this up – probably in 2015 – by putting in detailed planning applications within the framework of the master plan.
Initial analysis of the public comments received to date showed that the vast majority of those responding were opposed to any development on the site. There was particular concern about the traffic implications. Reference had also been made to the case for a local shop and the need for additional GP provision.
As regards the proposed development, HFM’s intention was to develop landscape proposals which recognised the key features of the site, in particular its proximity to the Cammo Estate Park and also the barrier presented by the Maybury Road. The objective would be to produce landscape proposals, which provided for a development that was welcoming, safe and adaptable.
With regard to the traffic issues, it was accepted that the biggest challenge was the already heavy traffic flows on Maybury Road. Thinking at this stage was that there should be 2 access points to the new development from Maybury Road, controlled by traffic lights and with regulated pedestrian/cyclist routes across Maybury Road. Additional lanes would be provided on Maybury Road for entry into and exit from the development. Consideration would need to be given to the implications for traffic flows at the Barnton and Maybury junctions. It was hoped that public transport routes could be extended into the site; this would be at the expense of the developer(s) in the early years.
Questions and discussion
Following were among the points raised in questions and comment:-
Size and nature of the development In response to questions the HFM representatives said that the site was “zoned” for between 500 and 700 houses. In accordance with Council policy, a proportion of these would need to fall within the classification of “affordable housing”. The housing proposals would also need to recognise the changing age profile of the city, in particular the need to provide more housing for older people. HFM were being encouraged by their Council contacts to go for the highest number of houses possible on the site. Nevertheless at this stage the intention was that the housing development would be medium/low density. No decision had yet been reached on the height of the proposed housing but most was likely to be 2 storey. There was however the possibility of flatted housing along the side of the Maybury Road.
Traffic issues Residents noted that Maybury Road was a major traffic artery and there was heavy congestion at both the the Barnton and Maybury junctions at peak periods. The addition of another 500-700 houses would only add to the problems. Up to now the Council had not been able to come up with any proposals for relieving the existing congestion at the Barnton and Maybury junctions and this would only get worse if the new development proceeded. Current Cammo residents would derive no benefit from the proposals; indeed their difficulties in exiting onto Maybury Road were likely to worsen. Concern was also expressed that, in the event that traffic was backed up along the Maybury Road, drivers would use the 2 access points so as to provide a “rat run” through the new development. Heavy scepticism was expressed about the possibility of coming up with an acceptable solution to the obvious traffic problems. In response the HFM representatives accepted that the onus was on them, despite the scepticism of the audience, to come up with proposals for traffic management which met the “no net detriment” principle – ie that the proposed new development did not make the traffic problems any worse than at present.
Education and medical provision The point was made that schools on the western side of Edinburgh were already full to bursting. The addition of another development of this size would further exacerbate the problem, and the Council apparently had no resources to expand provision. Similar problems arose in relation to primary care where existing GP practices were under heavy pressure. In response the HFM representatives said that they had been talking to the Education Department and understood that a new primary school was envisaged for the Maybury area. So far as health facilities were concerned, this needed to be addressed but there was no reason in principle why provision could not be made within the site.
Environmental issues Concern was expressed about the implications for wildlife of the proposed development. It was noted that the birdlife in the area was particularly rich and some species were recognised as rare in the Edinburgh bio-diversity plan. No amount of planting trees would make up for the loss of habitats. In response the HFM representatives said that an ecological survey would be conducted; the master plan would incorporate the results and offer mitigating measures.
Young people It was noted that in any development of the size proposed there were bound to be a number of teenagers and there was very little provision for them in the area. In particular there was no cafe or community centre. The HFM representatives said that they would give consideration to this.
Delivery of planning approval In response to questions the HFM representatives acknowledged that the site was probably too large for a single developer and it was likely that 2 or 3 would be involved. Members of the audience expressed scepticism about whether the Council would actually enforce the master plan if the eventual developers sought amendments. The example of the Cramond campus site was referred to in this connection. Only the housing elements of that plan had gone ahead and there was no immediate prospect of the other promised elements being delivered. In these circumstances members of the audience were sceptical about whether any adjustments to the Cammo proposals made in response to local public concerns would actually be delivered in practice.
Andrew Mather thanked the HFM representatives for their presentation and members of the audience for their thoughtful and penetrating questions and comments. The Community Council would continue to track, and as necessary comment on, the proposals for this development as they proceeded
Thursday 16 January 2014 in the Millennium Hall when it is hoped that a representative of McCarthy and Stone will give an update on the Barnton Hotel development.
1 December 2013