Residents in Roslin fighting approved plans for new homes, which will mean vehicular access crossing a local core path, have held a meeting with local MSP Colin Beattie.
Chapel Lawns Action in Midlothian (CLAIM) invited the Midlothian North SNP MSP and the three local ward councillors to last week’s meeting about the plans by the University of Edinburgh for up to 272 homes on land north west of Moat View in the village. The group is angry that the plans will see a road built across the path which connects Main Street, Roslin, opposite the bowling club all the way to the B7003, Penicuik Road, Roslin.
CLAIM’s vice-chairman John MacCallum admitted the group was left disappointed by the absence of the local councillors and criticised the council for approving the plans.
He said: “The three ward councillors were notable by their absence, not uncommon given their lack of attendance at community council meetings. They also failed to meet with CLAIM committee members in the past.
“It was agreed at the meeting that the council’s role in the Roslin sites in relation to a land swap which has been agreed secretly between the council and the University of Edinburgh was scandalous.
“The land swap relates to the giving of part of the core path land by the council to facilitate vehicular access to the university land for housing, in exchange for land owned by the university for a new school site next to the A701 east of the Gowkley Moss Roundabout – which is not yet planned for nor has been part of any public consultation exercise for such an allocation in any Local Development Plan.
“Colin Beattie had arranged this meeting at our request. It was really an update on a meeting we had with him last year. He agreed to investigate these matters further in the first instance, and he will continue to speak to the university and keep us informed.
“He understand where we are coming from. We talked about the planning process and how comments are or are not heard. This is about appearance and how the council is contradicting itself. We just feel we are being ignored.”
Midlothian Council denies any secret deal to sell the land and says it supplied all documents relating to the land to CLAIM.
A spokesman said: “We can state categorically we have not ‘secretly’ sold land for a road crossing a core path to Edinburgh University in an exchange deal for land for a new school site. The council does numerous property transactions as part of day-to-day business, all of which are subject to formal reporting and approval processes.
“Council officers have supplied documents and reports about the land sale for the road to the CLAIM group. The site was allocated for housing in the 2017 Local Development Plan, which was subject to public consultation, an examination in public and approval by the Scottish Ministers.
“The Local Development Plan highlighted the desired connectivity between the site and the neighbouring Chapel Lawns housing site in accordance with best practice and national policy regarding connected places
“The agreement with the university ensures continued access to the path during construction of the road. When completed, the new road will include a new a safe pedestrian/horse crossing maintaining the core path route.
“The new road and crossing will be transferred back to the council, giving full public accessibility.
“It is common for public rights or way to cross roads, this is accepted practice in Midlothian and across Scotland.”