Homes bid wins backing at derelict bridge hotel site

CONTROVERSIAL plans for 125 homes on an “eyesore” site near the Forth Road Bridge were set to get the go-ahead today.
The plot has lain empty for more than a decade. Picture: Jon SavageThe plot has lain empty for more than a decade. Picture: Jon Savage
The plot has lain empty for more than a decade. Picture: Jon Savage

Blueprints for a housing development at the former Forth Bridge Hotel at Ferrymuir Gait, in South Queensferry, have been recommended for approval by planning chiefs at the city’s development management sub-committee.

The ten-acre site has lain empty since the hotel’s closure more than a decade ago.

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A number of different plans have failed to gain approval to transform the derelict plot, which has suffered vandalism and fires.

Owner Corus Hotels submitted the latest plans in April, which would include a range of affordable and market housing, from two-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses.

Nearly 130 residents have lodged objections to the development, which is the most complained about in Queensferry’s history, according to Keith Giblett, chairman of Queensferry and District Community Council.

He said: “We are concerned – as you can see from the objections – because we don’t believe the site is suitable for housing. We think a mixed-use site would be a better use for it.”

He added: “With the Forth Road Bridge nominated for a World Heritage Site, the area needs support from quality retailers.”

Residents are particularly concerned about increased traffic and a lack of infrastructure to support the new houses alongside proposals for 450 homes at the former Agilent Technologies site nearby.

Objections have also been raised by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA), which has a boundary with the proposed development, as well as workshops and a maintenance compound which operate 24 hours a day.

Barry Colford, chief engineer and bridgemaster, said: “The authority considers that any future residents of the development will complain about issues such as noise, dust and general disturbance of vehicles moving in and out of the facility both day and night.

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“In addition, the close proximity of the development to the southern end of the bridge will cause issues during future maintenance of the bridge.”

The site is said to be in dire need of redevelopment and the plans fit in with its surroundings, according to Craig Main, project architect at EMA, which is acting on behalf of the developer.

Mr Main said: “We think it is an appropriate solution for the site and we think we have successfully addressed all of the issues. It’s become a bit of an eyesore and people want something done with it.

“The site has been in disarray for a number of years. There have been a number of attempts to put something there.”

He said concerns over access into the site, which is currently only permitted on to Kirkliston Road, could be addressed in the future.