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A bird's eye view of the development. © Keppie

Letter: Save Damhead’s Greenbelt

This is a letter to the editor submitted by Heather MacKay, on behalf of the Damhead Community Council, in response to our article on the proposed development of a film studio at Old Pentland.

As readers will know, Damhead and District is the green gateway to Midlothian, supporting rural jobs, with a rural landscape, right on the edge of urban development. It has a unique rural character.

The residents of Damhead welcome sustainable development, appropriate to the nature of their community and Midlothian’s character in general. This film studio fits none of these criteria. Such a major development of multiple warehouses approaching the height of The Kelpies, and a power plant would destroy a large piece of Midlothian’s prime agricultural green belt land and be costly to the local environment. It would increase air, light and noise pollution, traffic congestion and destroy precious habitats. This would be an atrocity for the region and the local communities, not to mention the resident farm tenant Jim Telfer who is being threatened with eviction against his will.

We recognise a need for progressive development, but not of this nature on such valuable soil at a time when Edinburgh, our neighbour, is recognising the importance of locally produced food. Such development should be on brownfield sites. The developer is proposing that the only piece of brownfield be set aside as ambiguous employment land, for other corporates to potentially develop in the future.

However, we believe there is a very low probability that this will happen. In addition to this the developers have taken it upon themselves to discard Midlothian Council’s proposed A701 realignment and suggest it be moved further into Damhead. This road would obliterate much of Damhead’s prime agricultural land, bisect the Damhead community, and destroy rural livelihoods and jobs.

Whilst the Scottish Film Industry is crying out for a film studio in Scotland, they have been clear in stating that Midlothian is not the place for the development. They would prefer it to be in the greater Glasgow area, in close proximity to the vast majority of Scotland’s existing television and film infrastructure. All in all, it makes very little sense.

We urge those opposed to this development to object in writing to Midlothian Council.

What’s your view? Let us know below or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively reply to this letter by getting in touch.