Film studio plans dealt a major blow by planners

Gordon Ash from the development firm, discusses the plans with local residents at last year's consultation event

Gordon Ash from the development firm, discusses the plans with local residents at last year's consultation event

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A bid to create the nation’s first film studio in Midlothian has been dealt a huge blow after council officials said it should be thrown out.

Planners have delivered a damning verdict on the controversial Pentland Studios project – the latest in a series of attempts to get such a facility off the ground in Scotland.

They say the scheme proposed for Straiton is unsuitable for greenbelt land, would caused unacceptable disruption to local residents and threaten the expansion of the Edinburgh Science Triangle development. There are fears it will blight the landscape and ruin views from the nearby Pentland Hills.

The planning application is now in the hands of the Scottish Government after the developer lodged an appeal on the grounds of non-determination by Midlothian Council. The local authority has submitted a lengthy dossier to the inquiry reporter.

Up to 900 jobs have been predicted for the £150 million project earmarked for an 86-acre swathe of land close to Damhead.

In his report to the reporter, Midlothian Council head of economy Ian Johnson states: “The proposed scale of development cannot be achieved on this site without significant landscape visual impact especially considering the prominent location of the application site at the open rolling landscape providing the setting for the Pentland Hills and the greenbelt land associated with Edinburgh. The proposed buildings are approximately three times as high as the nearby Asda store...They are of a scale which does not sit well in the landscape.”