“Whilst remaining committed to working with Midlothian Council, PSL Land Ltd yesterday wrote to the Scottish Government to call-in their planning application to deliver an International Film Studio at Straiton to the South of Edinburgh, on the grounds of the delay in determining the project by Midlothian Council. The planning application is for:
Planning permission in principle for a mixed use development comprising; film and tv studio including backlot complex; mixed employment uses (retail/office/commercial); hotel; gas and heat power plant/energy centre; film school and student accommodation; studio tour building; earth station antenna and associated infrastructure including car parking; SUDS features and landscaping (Application Ref: 15/00364/PPP).
PSL Land Ltd began pre-application discussions with Midlothian Council in mid-2013, receiving strong early support from officers and elected members of the Council for the project. Considered to be a very significant inward investment into both the local area by providing over 900 jobs, as well as an International Film Studio for Scotland, the development is also a catalyst for wider economic renewal within the Midlothian area.
The planning application was submitted on 2 May 2015 (validated 5 May 2015), and the statutory 16 week period during which the Council are required to determine the application passed on 5 September 2015. PSL Land Ltd has until 4 December 2015 to request the Scottish Government to call-in the project for review.
PSL Land Ltd has had the option to lodge this request with the Scottish Ministers from 6 September 2015, however chose to continue to work with Midlothian Council planning officers towards achieving a positive recommendation to the Planning Committee to grant Planning Permission in Principle for the proposal by December 2015.
Currently in week 28 of the application, the planning officers now advise that they now consider the proposal a significant departure from the Development Plan due to the site being partially in the Greenbelt. Consequently, a crucial delay in processing the application until 22 March 2016 for a decision, and until June 2016 to finalise Section 75 matters (approximately week 56 of the application process) has arisen.The local elections in May 2016 may further impact these dates.
PSL Land Ltd would wish to state they have no issue with the assessment, but raise considerable concerns as to why it has taken until week 28 of the decision-making process to adopt this position, particularly as Midlothian Council intend in the Emerging Local Plan to remove the Greenbelt designation on the PSL Land site.
As a result of this change in position by the Midlothian Council officials, PSL Land Ltd have lodged a request for the application to be called in by Scottish Ministers for consideration as a project of national importance. Alternatively, as of 4 December 2015, PSL Land Ltd will have no further option than to go down the Non-Determination Appeal route.”
There will be no further comment at this time.