Landowner says Penicuik paddock plan highlights need for new homes in the countryside

A landowner who wants to build a four-bedroom house on a paddock says his application reveals a need for new homes to be built in the countryside.

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Agents for applicant Tony Pia say his plans for a new home on the land near Meyerling, Penicuik, should be approved despite being in the countryside on land not identified for housing.

In a statement to Midlothian planners they said: “There are many positive reasons for locating within the countryside, and there are likewise negative reasons for locating within existing built-up areas.

The paddock at the centre of the planning applicationThe paddock at the centre of the planning application
The paddock at the centre of the planning application
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“This has become very evident during the 2020-21 Covid 19 pandemic.

“Health and well-being, level of amenity, and access to the outdoors, makes a fundamental contribution to our health and well-being, while at the same time helping to connect people with the land and broaden understanding of issues relating to land use.”

The planning application is for a four-bedroom farmhouse with an additional second building which will house a garage and laundry as well as a home office.

The proposed house in the paddockThe proposed house in the paddock
The proposed house in the paddock

The agents said: “Housing in the countryside recognises that one of the most significant changes in rural areas has been a rise in the number of people wishing to live in the accessible parts of the countryside while continuing to commute to work in towns and cities.

“Others wish to live and work in the countryside. It is important to support the latter whilst trying to restrain the former.

“Also, an issue which has become part of the new way of working, during and post-Covid 19 pandemic, is the desire and ability to work from home.

“This is no more apparent than in the council’s own workforce who have been able to continue working from home on laptops, home computers mobile devices and by telephone.

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“Video meetings have become the norm and have been seen as an acceptable way to work. Driving to work has become far less necessary.

“We should design the properties to be attractive and functional for those who have a desire to live and work in the countryside, and to allow for effective home working.”

The plans have been published online for comment.

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