Row over access road to new South Queensferry development

South Queensferry residents have launched a crowdfunder to stop new roads being built over their land for access to a new housing estate beside the Forth Road Bridge.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 6:36 am
The Ferrymuir Gait development site in South Queensferry, with great views of the Forth bridges.

The move follows Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland refusing use of the main access road to the site – Ferrymuir Gait.

Ambassador Living has won planning approval from Edinburgh City Council to build 124 homes on the site of the former Forth Bridges Motel, but locals claimed it has no permitted road access. The Forthview development, just east of the Forth Road Bridge offices and the Forth bridges’ contact and education centre, has been derelict for years since the hotel’s demolition.

Residents claimed the developer had already sold some of the unbuilt houses but they could only be accessed by constructing roads over private land.

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Ferrymuir Gait development site

They feared traffic would be funnelled onto the new estate over these new roads via Viewforth Place, which they said was frequently obstructed by parked cars and was an arterial cycle route and main walking route for school children.

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to mount a legal challenge to the plans, which has raised more than £3,300 so far.

One resident, Mark Fletcher, said: “I am appalled that Ambassador Living is selling houses with the promise of three points of access, despite not having secured the legal rights to use any of them.

“I am deeply concerned that if Transport Scotland do not allow access through Ferrymuir Gait, the extra traffic diverted along narrow, residential roads will be extremely dangerous, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children walking to school, the elderly and cyclists.

“If the city council wants to promote green commuting, it must protect the routes that already exists.

“It is ridiculous the council planning process allows a housing development to be built with no access roads.”

The council said the developer had a right of access across Ferrymuir Gait and any dispute over this was a legal matter between Ambassador Homes and Transport Scotland.

A council spokesperson said: “Planning permission was granted for this development in September which included vehicular access from Ferrymuir Gait, Hugh Russell Place and Henry Ross Place.”

The latter two streets, which adjoin the site, are currently accessed via Viewforth Place.

However, Transport Scotland said Ferrymuir Gait, which it owns, was already used by road maintenance and Traffic Scotland staff, including large vehicles, along with contact and education centre visitors, school children and cyclists. It said: “We would not consider it appropriate to access further residential development on this road.”

The agency said it would also not support the road being taken over by the council.

It said collapsible bollards had been installed at the end of the road to enable emergency access to the development.

It agreed to their temporary removal for preliminary work, after which they were replaced.

A spokesperson for Ambassador Living said: “We can confirm that, in addition to our build access route, we have all necessary rights of access to our Forthview development in South Queensferry, supported by all required legal paperwork.

“Work began on site in November following planning approval from Edinburgh City Council and is now well under way.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with both local residents and the community council as well as other key partners as the site progresses.”