More than 500 local residents have objected to plans to build more than 300-plus homes on a site near the main Edinburgh to West Coast main railway line in Balerno.

That figure was confirmed by Mike Martin, one of the leading protesters, who said 503 people had made their feelings against the development known to The City of Edinburgh Council by the deadline for objections last week.

Balerno Green Belt (BGB) campaigners have been busy canvasing support. Leaflets were delivered to all households in the area and many residents now have Save Our Green Belt signs in their front windows.

Balerno Community Council are also against the proposal however Martin said that one resident was in favour.

Traffic congestion along the already busy Lanark Road was one of the main arguments against the plans by Rapleys who want to build at Ravelrig Road.

Locals also claim the move is detrimental to the green belt and has implications for local transport, agricultural land use and infrastructure, including schools and the provision of medical care.

Martin said: “Local feeling is almost completely against the development. With the current congestion along Lanark Road West it is clear to local people that we are already at capacity.”

Transport links were also mentioned by residents and recent flooding in the village, said Martin, had underlined the need to work with nature to mitigate the flood risk, rather than concreting over more productive agricultural land.

BGB leaders claim the site is greenbelt as defined by the local development plan and stress that two major sites have been developed in the last four years which have added over 300 new homes.

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A spokesman claimed: “There is no further evidence of further demand for housing in the area.
“The development of mainly family houses could mean an additional 700 cars and would add to the congestion and pollution that already exists on the A70 Lanark Road.”

They further claim that the local primary school and the medical centre do not have the capacity to serve the development and parking in the village is already an issue.

BGB added: “The site falls away steeply to the north making it unattractive for development and furthermore the main entrance to the site appears to be in close proximity to the brow of a hill which could make it a collision hazard.

“There is a narrow bridge at the bottom of the hill leading to rural roads which are unsuitable for increased volumes of traffic.”

Martin attended the December Farmers’ Market in the village on Saturday and made his views known to Gordon MacDonald, the MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands.

Martin said: “Mr MacDonald told me he has also objected to the plans which further strengthens our argument.”

Balerno Community Council said: “It is important that the Ravelrig application is seen in the context of the growth of traffic all down Lanark Road West to Gillespie Crossroads.

“Traffic from the Ravelrig development would join new traffic from the new developments at Ravelrig Heights, Somerville Road, Newmills Road, Rivermill and Kinleith and all the rest.”