We were delighted with the public interest in our masterplan exhibition proposals and received plenty of feedback during our first live event. In advance of our second Q&A event which is planned for 9th March, we felt it was important to publicise a summary of the feedback received and our responses to questions raised.
Current use of the site proposed for development
The proposed development site includes the fallow field adjoining Pentland Park as well as the existing amenity space dedicated to park residents.
The latter is not being lost and is in fact being expanded and enhanced. Plans are to relocate and significantly improve this area with formal landscaping, a play area and network of dedicated and well-lit footpaths which will also allow access up to the north-western corner of the development site.
The remaining land has only been accessible to residents on a temporary basis during the continuing national lockdown resulting from the COVID pandemic. Public access is at the landowner’s discretion and this land does not form part of their obligation to provide a dedicated amenity resource for the Park.
Traffic and access
The access arrangements have been considered by a specialist transport consultant who has undertaken an access appraisal to assess how this proposed development might be safely and efficiently accessed.
It is too early to determine if any new traffic lights will be required at either of the proposed access arrangements but this will be addressed in a full Transport Impact Assessment submitted to the council as part of a future planning application. The council, as roads authority, will consider if traffic lights or any other road safety improvements are justified and required to serve this proposal.
The access arrangements proposed have been considered by a transportation consultant and supported by an access appraisal. No traffic into the development site from the A701 is required to enter Pentland Park other than the immediate turn off that road and we do not anticipate any impact to residents.
The proposed access arrangements will be assessed by the council's roads authority when a planning application is submitted.
Landscaping and trees
All of the significant and mature trees will be retained, especially along the southern and western site boundaries and supplemented with significant new planting. The latter will form part of more detailed landscaping arrangements that will be promoted through a future planning application.
The proposals incorporate significant 'green elements' including new tree planting, a much improved amenity green space with children's play area and a dedicated network of well-lit footpaths.
This is a key consideration for the proposals and the landowner is required to ensure that amenity of existing residents is not unduly impacted by this proposed development. There are significant plans for new planting and landscaping arrangements which will serve to benefit the existing residents and protect privacy. Moreover, there are clear guidelines operated by the council with regard to distances between existing and proposed development and especially residential type uses. The landowner must be able to demonstrate adherence to those guidelines if they are to satisfy the council in this respect.
Proposed layout and uses
The current masterplan layout reflects the current demand in this location as well as the landowner’s aspirations to provide uses which will be of maximum benefit to the local community. They currently include:
- an Aldi foodstore;
- a coffee shop alongside a family restaurant;
- veterinary surgery/hospital;
- community facility (current interest from children’s nursery operator);
- Children’s Local Area for Play (LAP);
- enhanced amenity/greenspace;
- new footpath network;
- affordable homes, and
- retirement living and care facilities.
No, the reference to a children’s nursery relates solely to the fact that there is current interest in that plot from a local operator. The landowner is proposing to build this facility themselves and intends that this will be used by the wider community if a suitable use can be identified.
All of the uses at this ‘in principle’ stage are indicative but the landowner believes they are deliverable and will benefit the local community.
The residential uses currently include affordable housing, retirement homes and a care facility. The intention behind these uses is to provide somewhere for residents who may in time require assistance but would like to stay in the local area, especially if that means being near to family and friends.
The masterplan currently proposes 10 affordable homes, (2 storey units), 42 retirement units and 112 assisted living units (mostly 2 storey with some 3 storey elements in the centre of the site).
Infrastructure and Services
The proposed development will be required to provide adequate infrastructure and connections to service the uses proposed which is also required to take full account of the arrangements for existing development in the vicinity.
An engineer has already undertaken detailed assessment of the current infrastructure provisions and addressed what is required to accommodate the new development without impacting on the existing arrangements for the Park.
A drainage strategy has been prepared and that will be submitted to the council with any future planning application. Early contact has been made with Scottish Water who will also be formally consulted by the council on receipt of a planning application.
Operator Demand / Interest in the Site
We can confirm that Aldi has signed a commercial agreement with the landowner to deliver a new store as shown on the masterplan.
There is also currently interest in the site from a local children's nursery operator for the community use building which the landowners will build at their own cost. That building can be whatever the community feels would be appropriate but it is indicatively identified as a children's nursery as that is currently the noted interest.
There is interest in the affordable housing units from two local Registered Social Landlords and discussions are ongoing.
The commercial plot identified opposite and to the west of the proposed Aldi store has interest from a local veterinary surgery as well as coffee shop outlets. We can confirm that there are no plans for a fast food outlet.
The landowner commissioned an ecologist to undertake a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. That appraisal was prepared in advance and to inform the masterplan. It does not identify any protected species or habitats within or close to the site boundaries. However, it does highlight opportunities for further biodiversity enhancements and recommends some additional survey work to be undertaken at an appropriate time in the future. This report will be submitted as part of a future planning application.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - Screening Opinion will be sought from the council at the appropriate time. They will determine if this proposal requires an EIA.
The masterplan proposals are informed by an Environmental Assessment prepared by a professional engineering firm. The suitability of the land for development has been addressed through this report and the conclusions factored into the proposals. That report, along with all supporting technical assessments will be submitted with a future planning application.
If any development is approved then the subsequent developers responsible will be required to prepare a Construction Management Plan for their proposals and submit that to the council for approval before any works take place.
The current masterplan proposals are ‘in principle’ only and as the landowners will not develop out the site then this is not something they are required to address at this stage.
A team of engineers employed by Aldi have started some investigation work at their part of the proposed development. This is an essential part of their submission for planning permission and will be complete by the end of March.