By Christine Lavelle
FORMER Rangers chairman Sir David Murray has submitted a watered-down plan for a new housing development in one of Edinburgh’s suburbs.
The proposal – which includes 121 homes and a residential care home – is Murray Estates’ third attempt in a year to develop the site next to Ratho Station.
Last year, blueprints for 200 houses, a care home and a community centre were rejected by council bosses, as they believed it would interfere with the land earmarked for a new Royal Highland Showground.
And in February this year, another proposal for 180 properties was also denied.
But – the firm has submitted a dramatically scaled down version of the plan – looking to build just 121 houses, while providing funding to improve roads in the area and to erect a community facility.
Jestyn Davies, managing director at Murray Estates, said the plans have been backed by village leaders and that the revised application would be “more easily supported”.
She said: “We’re very pleased that the local people have stuck by us on our plans for Ratho Station.
“Residents definitely want to see their village regenerated and after nearly three years of engagement, we now feel we have an application that can be more easily supported.”
The Royal Highland Agricultural Society (RHASS) had initially planned to move across the road to a new ground at Norton Park, next to the Murray site.
The original RHASS site was needed by Edinburgh Airport as part of its expansion plans, but the airport has now delayed the plans and the RHASS expects to be on its current site until 2020.
If the development goes ahead, Ratho’s population of around 650 could massively increase.
In the village, there are currently 280 homes, and the area has very few amenities – served primarily by one Scotmid store.
Linda McBurnie, chair of the Ratho Station Residents’ Association, said she hoped it would be third time lucky for Sir Murray – who is worth an estimated £500 million.
She said: “We were initially disappointed that Murray Estates had to reduce the number of homes because many of us feel that a critical mass of people would benefit Ratho Station.
“However, we are pleased that the reduction in size means the Royal Highland Show can now set aside the previous reservations they had while we in the existing community can keep the majority of the associated benefits originally proposed.”
Sir Murray’s application is expected to appear before planners within the next three months.