Roslin residents’ fury at university’s plans

Residents in Roslin have come together to fight approved plans for new homes which will mean vehicular access crossing a local core path.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 8:15 am
Roslin residents fight local council descision to build a road across a core path. Over 40 local residents came together to object to Edinburgh University's plan to build a road across a path in Roslin. Photo by Jon Lee.

In November locals from the Chapel Lawns area formed the group Chapel Lawns Action in Midlothian (CLAIM), to voice concerns about the plans to build a residential development of up to 272 homes on land north west of Moat View in the village.

The core path connects from Main Street, Roslin, opposite the Bowling Club all the way to the B7003, Penicuik Road, Roslin.

The plans were granted planning permission in principle last month, despite 72 objections.

Now CLAIM has expressed anger at the applicant, the University of Edinburgh, for “ignoring the wishes of the Roslin community” during the application process. The university denies this is and claims it “pro-actively engaged with residents”.

CLAIM’s chairwoman Dr Sandra Sharp said: “It’s a sad day when one of the most venerable institutions in the land must be openly questioned about its conduct. But that’s where we have reached in respect of the behaviour of the University of Edinburgh in profiting from the sale of land for development in Midlothian.

“The sale of land for development is not a problem, and neither is its purpose, namely, to raise funds for its core mission.

“However, to do so with complete disregard for the strongly expressed views of residents of Roslin appears to contradict the University’s own Community Engagement Strategy.

“The residents have spoken loudly, in large numbers and clearly – they want to preserve a core path free from vehicular traffic.

“What has been the university’s approach? Firstly, it put forward a preposterous suggestion for access to its development site Hs19 which would have seen green belt sacrificed and many trees removed, knowing full well that it would face strong opposition.

“Why do this? So that it could claim to have consulted with residents and then manoeuvre for its preferred option of a through road severing a core path that is treasured by locals as a safe transit and walking route.

“Why could the university not have proceeded with the obvious solution by accessing its site from the opposite side of the development as per the Local Development Plan?

“Has it not occurred to anyone at the university that the core path residents are trying to preserve as traffic-free is part of a green network which connects Roslin to its own Easter Bush campus?

“Will wheelchair users of the path feel safe knowing that it will be crossed by a new street serving hundreds of houses with a continual flow of vehicles?

“The university has conducted its business in Roslin in a way that suggests it really doesn’t care what negative impact it leaves behind when it sells out, and it seems to have lost all balance and perspective on the benevolent role that we all expect of charitable institutions in our country.”

A spokesperson from the University of Edinburgh said: “We value the relationships we have with our local communities and have pro-actively engaged with residents from the earliest stages of planning for this development.

“We have been open and transparent throughout the process and have followed proper procedure at every stage.

“We will continue to engage pro-actively and positively with the local community in Roslin and the wider area to work in partnership for mutual benefit.”