Rosewell homes approved despite councillors’ concerns and local objections

Councillors debated the plans to build 100 homes in Rosewell at last week's planning committee meeting in the council chambers at Midlothian House, Dalkeith.
Councillors debated the plans to build 100 homes in Rosewell at last week's planning committee meeting in the council chambers at Midlothian House, Dalkeith.
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A bid to throw out plans to build 100 houses near Rosewell failed after councillors were warned they were “unlikely” to win any appeal.

The plans brought 37 objections, ranging from road safety to the impact on the character of the village itself.

Councillor Kelly Parry (SNP) urged colleagues on the council’s planning committee to reject the advice of officers and refuse to grant planning permission for the development on an area of land to the north of Gortonlee. She cited the community’s objections and concerns about the impact traffic from the new houses would have on the roads as well as on the amenity Rosewell.

Fellow SNP councillor Dianne Alexander pointed out that the village had “doubled in size if not more over the last few years”. She urged officials to ensure, if the plan were approved, that developers contributed towards a second bus route to the community.

However, planning chairman Councillor Russell Imrie (Lab) told her that the problem was not the number of buses but finding passengers.

He said: “We have debated this with Lothian Buses on many occasions. They say people won’t use the bus.

“Lothian Buses are quite clear that people are not using the buses and they are going back and forward empty. I have no problem with getting more buses, the difficulty is getting people on them.”

In their planning application, approved by the committee, developers said the new houses would create a “gateway” into the village.

However, Rosewell and District Community Council disagreed and in their objection pointed to a previous development of over 60 houses on the neighbouring Chapel Field, which they said ruined the view of the local church.

The community council said: “The previous development at Chapel Field, leading up to St Matthews Chapel, is incongruous, inconsiderate and detracts from this distinctive chapel and its grounds.”

Midlothian Provost Peter Smaill asked Peter Arnsdorf, development management manager, whether there would be grounds to reject the application which would stand up if it was then appealed to Scottish Ministers.

He was told that as the land in question had been included in the council’s own Local Development Plan as suitable for up to 100 houses, it was “unlikely to win” an appeal. The committee voted by 11 votes to two to approve the plans.