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A visualisation of how land will be transformed in the north of Penicuik © Taylor Wimpey

Developers Promise £12M for Community

A legal agreement signed by Taylor Wimpey and Midlothian Council has revealed how homebuilders will plough £12m into the town to upgrade infrastructure and facilities.

On December 23 last year, the local authority’s lawyers signed a landmark section 75 legal agreement with housing developer Taylor Wimpey, giving them permission to construct 458 dwellings in return for contributions to local roads, schooling and recreational facilities. The signing ended three years of discussions, that had prohibited Wimpey from starting construction on their land north of Greenlaw Mains one.

The council has now made the legal agreement public, revealing how homebuilders will be obligated to spend millions before they can even sell their first house.

As the first developer to be awarded planning permission, Taylor Wimpey will shoulder the largest cost; £4,579,921 (provisional) to upgrade the A701, A702 and Mauricewood Road to cope with the additional traffic not only from their development but also the minded-to-grant CALA and Avant Homes development across the road. This figure includes the construction of a substantial new roundabout on the A702 – at the Mauricewood junction – the signalisation of the A701 Mauricewood t-junction and the instatement of a path along the entire length of Mauricewood Road, allowing walkers to safely reach the Pentland Hills. Both Mauricewood Road and Belwood Road will likely also be resurfaced where necessary.

The first stage of the roundabout works, to divert pipes away from the the construction site, will complete in the next three weeks, by July 8, allowing the next set of contractors to move in. It is believed that BT will have to divert fibre optics before Transport Scotland can start the actual construction of the new junction. The preparatory works will complete on 31 March 2017 and the roundabout construction will then begin. Once these works begin, the developer will have 68 weeks to upgrade the entire road network (A701, A702, Mauricewood Rd and Belwood Rd.) However, Taylor Wimpey cannot complete more than 25 homes until the roads are fully open, as stipulated in the agreement:

The Landowners [Taylor Wimpey] shall procure that Road Opening occurs prior to Completion of the 25th Residential Unit on the Agreement Subjects. No more than 25 Residential Units on the Agreement Subjects shall be Completed prior to the date on which Road Opening occurs;

In addition to contributions to the road network, the housing developers have also pledged £3,325,280.10 to both primary and secondary education in Penicuik. The largest contribution of £2,146,178.00 will go towards extending Cuiken Primary School. In 2015, Cuiken Primary School was operating at 88.4% of a total capacity of 267. The 1008 new homes in the north of the town will give way to hundreds of new children and so, it is believed, Cuiken Primary will be extended by at least two classrooms. Mauricewood Primary School may also be extended. A small contribution will be made to secondary education, £127,980.00, but this could well be increased if Midlothian Council bring forward their plans to replace both Beeslack Community High School and Penicuik High School.

Midlothian Council are to also claw back £3,152,000 for the construction of the £9m Penicuik Centre (leisure centre and pool) which opened in 2007.

To allow Taylor Wimpey to build their 458 new dwellings, a process that could last until 2030, they have pledged £7,071,502.44 in contributions.

The remainder of the £12m approx, will be picked up by CALA and Avant Homes, should their application for 550 homes north of Rullion Road be approved when it’s submitted later this Summer. Works to test the ground conditions on this land have been ongoing, a sure sign that a planning application is in the works. The consultation period for these homes has now ended but the any pre-application concerns are still being sought through their website, click here.

Derek Lawson, Land Director with CALA Homes (East) explained:

Planning applications for the site [Rullion Road & Deanburn] have been with Midlothian Council since 2004. We are looking to update our proposals, and in light of the time which has lapsed we have elected to re-consult with the local community.

The CALA and Avant proposals are part of a wider release of land, which has obtained planning permission. The principle of development has been long established, and we are now focussed on the detail.

Importantly for Penicuik, this development will contribute to a sizeable investment in infrastructure, which would result in improvements to schools, roads and local facilities across the town – whilst boosting the population, supporting the local economy and increasing footfall in local businesses.

It is unknown when Taylor Wimpey will start preparatory works at Greenlaw Mill, however according to earlier reports it could be within the next couple of months.

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