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The Scottish Government has called-in plans for a major mixed-use business-led development near Edinburgh Airport due to concerns over the impact the development would have on transport.
Set for vacant land near the airport’s Hilton Hotel and the main A8 road, the 90-acre International Business Gateway scheme has been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
The £500 million project is being driven by a consortium consisting of Murray Estates, Frogmore Property, New Ingliston Limited and Salmon Harvester Properties.
Designed by 7N Architects, it will eventually boast around 122,000 square metres of commercial and business floor space, nearly 400 new homes – 25% of which would be affordable – 1,150 hotel bedrooms and at least 5,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.
Despite gaining planning approval from the City of Edinburgh Council in May, the future of the business hub will now be decided by the Scottish Government.
In their letter setting out why the application has been called in, the Scottish Government said: “The reason for this direction is to allow further consideration of transport impacts of the proposed development, in view of the national importance of the West Edinburgh area.”
David Murray, the managing director at Murray Capital, labelled the decision “deeply disappointing” and said it was putting politics ahead of growth and investment.
Mr Murray said: “The government has made clear its intent to steward the growth of the Scottish economy at a time of very significant downside risk. But the words are not being matched by action in this case, quite the reverse.
“This project would create hundreds of jobs in its development and house 12,000 jobs when completed.
“The politics of the planning process is putting investment, jobs and growth at risk. The danger is the message from the Scottish Government to the world is a negative one at the very point when we need strategic projects like this active and investing in the city and country.”
A decision on another west Edinburgh project by the same developer, the Edinburgh Garden District, is still pending more than three years after it was called-in by government planners.
Mr Murray added: “That project has already been with the Scottish Government for over three years following planning approval by the city council in June 2016. Both are strategically critical projects for the city and the country. I ask ministers to expedite this next process with very significant urgency and hope that they understand that the costs of delay are very real.”
On the Garden District application, the Scottish Government spokesman said: “This is a complex application and ministers are currently giving full and proper consideration to it Every effort is being made to issue the decision as soon as possible.”