Plans to create a new community with 700 homes near Gorebridge have been given outline planning permission by Midlothian Council.
Councillors approved the plans from EMA Architecture for the new homes, as well as community facilities, a primary school, playing fields, office units, a shop and a cafe, at Redheugh East, currently countryside, west of Gorebridge.
Ewan McIntyre, managing director of EMA Architecture is delighted with the approval.
He said: “This comes after about two years of hard work with the council and the community to arrive with a masterplan that everybody has supported.
“We now need to find a partner developer/ housebuilder to work with. We hope to be on site in the middle of next year. With the first phase completed by the end of 2016.
“It’s going to change the character of the A7 beyond all recognition. Really, it will stop being a country road at that section.
“It will have a big impact on the local community. The development will provide fantastic opportunities. And with the countryside and the view, we think it will be a huge success. There has been a huge amount of work spent on it.”
However, given that the new primary school won’t be built on the site until the final phase of the housing, schoolchildren will have to cross the A7 to go to the new school being built in Gorebridge.
Conditions were added to the proposals for a controlled crossing and a reduced speed limit on that stretch of the A7.
Speaking at last week’s Gorebridge Community Council meeting, Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) revealed that he raised the speed limit matter.
He said: “There had been a number of issues raised by Moorfoot Community Council. One of them was that the school is going to be on the other side of the road.
“What they want to do is put in a controlled crossing.
“I argued for a 30mph speed limit there too as it’s 40mph at the moment. And councillors agreed to that at the planning meeting. That will run from the traffic lights at Newtonloan Toll right up to Engine Road. The speed limit aspect still has to go through, but we as councillors were unanimous about that point.”
Councillor Jim Bryant (SNP) said: “The granting of planning permission for this major development is a key milestone in seeing the provision of new housing to meet demand in Midlothian.
“The land has been allocated for development in the Local Plan since 2008, so these proposals are a welcome sign of progress.”