School and community facilities conditions added to Bonnyrigg housing approval

A community school will be at the heart of a new 1,000-housing development in Bonnyrigg.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:06 pm
Councillor Derek Milligan outside Midlothian House in Dalkeith.

Midlothian Council’s planning committee agreed to give planning permission in principle to the residential proposals for more than 57 hectares of agricultural land to the east and west of Little Wood, at Hopefield.

However, councillors added a series of conditions, including moves to merge a proposed primary school on the land with proposals for community facilities. Council leader Derek Milligan said that the new community school could also include medical facilities if discussions with NHS Lothian found a need.

He also called for conditions to be attached to approving the plans which would see a bus grant sought to support services through the new housing, affordable housing on the site brought to the fore of the development and ensure developer contributions are equally given to local facilities. The committee approved the application with Cllr Milligan’s conditions unanimously.

The online meeting was live-streamed by the local authority for public access and Cllr Milligan urged people to understand that some housing decisions were made at Scottish Government level and not by local authorities.

He said: “Quite often the council does not have a say in how many houses come to this area, it is more on where they go, and sometimes even that gets overruled by the Reporters unit (Scottish Government Reporter).”

He emphasised that new developments need infrastructure in place and community facilities.

His call was seconded by Councillor Janet Lay-Douglas, who raised concerns that often “the tail wags the dog” when it comes to community services, which are looked at once the housing has been built.

Councillor Dianne Alexander said that she felt the council was “building houses not communities”.

She said: “Community facilities are so important, we have lots of young people going around causing mayhem because they have nowhere to go and do the things young people do.

“We need dentists, we need doctors, we need community space, I hear that from the people in Hopefield all the time.”