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Letters to the Editor: Fencing at Taylor Wimpey Development Penicuik


On Monday evening I arrived home to find that Taylor Wimpey had started to erect security fencing around the proposed development site, commencing with the area along the back of the houses on Boyd-Orr Drive & Namur Road.

It’s not just a fence either, they are bulldozing a strip of land along the fencing to create a four foot rampart behind the fencing.

The fencing has is blocking long established rights of way across & around the land which have been used by local people since way before Taylor Wimpey bought the land. Our access rights in Scotland are protected by law & this seems to be a flagrant breach of these rights.
Do they expect us to give up our rights to walk this area for the next 5 years?

Your article indicates that you were told planning approval had been granted in February. That is not the case.
The planning officer has confirmed for me that the planning proposal has still NOT received planning approval. The planning application is ‘ minded to approve’ pending completion of legal agreements.
The planning application still has to receive formal approval & then then there is a statutory period in which an appeal could be lodged. Yet here we have Taylor Wimpey acting on the assumption that the application is a done deal & flouting due process.
Not the first time they have jumped the gun on this site ‘Coming Soon’ Advertising hoardings were erected on the site months ago & subsequently had to be removed.

Your article indicates that Taylor Wimpey are ‘securing’ the site for health & safety reasons. Since construction can not begin until the legal planning process has been completed which may be some time yet. What health & safety reasons are there?

It seems that Taylor Wimpey & the planning office are in a great hurry to get this construction started. Allegedly, the council even sold Taylor Wimpey the small triangle of land at the back of houses on Arras Grove & Namur Road when it became apparent that without it Taylor Wimpey would not be able to build.
We have been given the impression that there will be shops & buses on the site but there is nothing in the plan to cover this.
There is an area of land set aside for a separate planning application but that is for an ‘industrial development!’ & we have seen no plans yet.

There are numerous construction sites large & small throughout the Lothians & houses waiting to be sold. Where are all these buyers to come from?
It seems to me that we are about to lose another area of beautiful countryside to corporate greed & so called progress. In the long run I suspect we’ll be the losers.

Rachael Mackenzie
(Sad resident of Namur Road

Editor’s Response

I am saddened to hear about the claims made in this letter to myself.

We have followed Taylor Wimpey’s plans from the outset in February 2012, in fact since the founding of the paper, and at all stages the homebuilder have cooperated to the best of their ability.

In late February of this year we received word from not only Wimpey themselves but also Midlothian Council that planning had been granted. This planning permission was subject to the signing of a section 75 legal agreement, which would agree upon the developer’s contributions to the community. We failed to state this at the time however we have stated it in the majority of articles following this one.

The realisation that Taylor Wimpey may not have the proper permissions is quite alarming however I must say that is not unexpected. They have submitted numerous invalid applications for planning permission which they later told us were “not relevant” and it leads me to believe that this is probably just another oversight in what has been quite a drawn out procedure. We expect to be given word shortly of the legal agreement being signed and once that happens residents will hopefully be given the reassurances that they need from the developer.

Whether the planned commercial development comes to fruition, is yet to be seen, however it may stay undercover for sometime with plans stating that the zone must start construction before the 324th house (which is some three years off yet). As for a public transport network, that is a completely different matter for the transport office and providers to agree upon and this could be some years after completion of the entire build.

Kindest Regards

Thomas Scott


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