400 homes set for green space between city and East Lothian

TWO massive developments of more than 400 homes are set to fill the only green space that separates Edinburgh from East Lothian.

A trust set up by local landowners the Dalrymple family is planning a development of 220 houses on a site between Newcraighall and Musselburgh, to the east of Newcraighall Primary School.

Council developer EDI is to lodge separate plans to build another 200 homes at a nearby site to the north of Newcraighall Road, at Niddrie Junction South.

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Developers say the proposals will bring much-needed new family homes to Edinburgh. But there is concern about the impact that more development will have on the traditional "village" core of Newcraighall, which will double in size.

Local councillor Mike Bridgman said: "The people of Newcraighall were not too keen about this being designated for housing.

"The main concern is the increase in traffic. They have had their fair share already with the park-and-ride, Queen Margaret University, Bannatyne's gym, the Travelodge and Fort Kinnaird. They feel that the village atmosphere is being lost."

Musselburgh residents fear that their heritage will be lost because of the continued "Edinburgh spread". Local activist Jenny Mollison said: "It is always a worry when towns like Musselburgh start to lose their individuality. Anything that joins the two up too much is a real shame."

Objectors have also included David Hamilton, founder of the Gilberstoun Residents Association. Following a consultation event, concerns raised have included the impact on traffic, the need for additional pedestrian crossings, the need to retain the "village feel", requirement for family houses and the need for a facility for community use.

A spokesman for the Dalrymple Trust said: "We are working closely with the community and other key stakeholders to address some of the outstanding issues prior to lodging an application for planning permission in principle."

The Dalrymple Trust intends to obtain planning consent then sell the site on to a developer with clauses to ensure development is appropriate.

It is not yet known whether EDI will develop its site itself but since the property slowdown, the council has changed the approach of EDI to be more of a development "facilitator".

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A spokesman for EDI said: "There is a national shortage of good quality housing stock. This development will go some way to addressing this."