Midlothian federation wants review body inquiry

Green councillor Ian Baxter  at the former Arniston Gas Works just outside Gorebridge
Green councillor Ian Baxter at the former Arniston Gas Works just outside Gorebridge

The Midlothian Federation of Community Councils is calling on the local authority to launch an inquiry into the Local Review Body (LRB).

This follows Midlothian’s Local Development Plan being branded “a waste of time and money” by Green councillor Ian Baxter after housing not included in the plan was approved by the LRB at the site of the former Arniston Gas Works in Gorebridge.

Bill Kerr-Smith, chairman of Eskbank and Newbattle Community Council, and a member of the Midlothian Federation of Community Councils, said: “We are seeking an inquiry asking them to identify what went wrong and to publish guidelines.

“Councillors are supposed to provide reasons for these decisions. I am sure that they know they have made a mistake, but our focus now is on making sure such mistakes are not repeated.”

The Midlothian Federation of Community Council has also asked for a full explanation of the factors that led to the LRB ignoring the Local Plan and overturning Midlothian Council’s officer’s recommendations, and to ensure that all members of the LRB are trained in the guidelines.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “The Local Review Body received a comprehensive report from the planning officers on the application and undertook a site visit. It considered all of this information in its assessment of the application and, following a vote, decided to grant planning permission subject to conditions and the completion of a legal planning agreement between the applicants and the council to secure developer contributions.”