MSP’s fears over housing surge

Jeremy Balfour MSP, pictured at a new housing development at Shawfair.
Jeremy Balfour MSP, pictured at a new housing development at Shawfair.

Jeremy Balfour MSP has highlighted some worrying trends for Midlothian in the latest housing statistics published by the Government last week.

The report shows a massive rise in the number of new homes being built in the county, with 670 new builds being completed in 2016/17 compared with just 196 in 2006/7.

Mr Balfour (Con) said: “Whilst I am all in favour of new people moving into the region, I worry about the strain this staggering 200 per cent increase of new building in the last 10 years is putting on our already over-stretched resources and infrastructure.

“Can our GPs’ surgeries cope with this influx of new families who will all need access to local medical care?

“Can our schools cope with the pressure of increasing class sizes? And can the local bus routes handle more commuter passengers, especially at peak times when our roads are already busy and congested?

“Surely robust local plans need to be put in place before this surge of new builds continues? I worry for families living in Midlothian who face a shortage of facilities and a region at breaking point.”

Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government is committed to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes over the course of this Parliament backed by £3 billion investment, adding: “These figures show we are delivering the housing needed in communities right across Scotland and since 2007 we have delivered nearly 72,500 affordable homes.

“In delivering those homes local authorities must set out their five year plan for affordable housing and ensure it meets the needs of their area. When identifying locations for new housing, planning authorities should take account of infrastructure requirements, such as schools and roads.”

A council spokesperson said: “The Midlothian Local Development Plan provides the policy framework for new housing and other development. It takes into account infrastructure requirements such as roads, water and drainage, public transport, community facilities, schools and healthcare.

“The examination of the Local Development Plan which took place between September 2016 and July last year reinforced this, identifying the appropriate level of infrastructure and facilities, such as schools and health centres, required to deliver the scale of growth planned for Midlothian up to 2024.

“The council will monitor the implementation of the Plan and will co-ordinate action amongst partners and key agencies where necessary to manage any issues that may arise in the future.”