An investigation into plans to build houses on a former petrol station has been launched by the Scottish Government Reporter.

Proposals for the Hillend site, which has been described as ‘troubled’ greenbelt land, were called by Scottish ministers after Midlothian councilors tried to approve it despite an objection from Transport Scotland.

The transport agency said it could not take over the planned nine chalets which would be accessible from the A702 national road without further information.

However, a transport report said the impact on traffic would be negligible and points out that the access was already in use when it was a petrol station or used for other businesses in the past.

Plans for the former petrol station site were initially refused planning permission by Midlothian planners in August last year after raising concerns about road safety and calling the houses’ gardens too much small.

A meeting of Midlothian Council’s local review body in December was told Midlothian planners and Transport Scotland had asked for a road safety audit to be produced before the accommodation could be approved.

However, the review body overturned the officers’ decision and upheld an appeal granting the planning permission by five votes to three after ruling that the proposals were the best solution for the site.

The review body was told the application for nine steading-style housing units should be referred back to Scottish Ministers as Transport Scotland is a statutory body and its objection remained in place.

Candidates CM Roofing and Building Ltd had argued that while council planners had other objections to their proposal, including objecting to the steading-style building design, size of gardens and layout of the car park , it made no sense to fund a security audit.

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The former petrol station site near Hillend had been booked as a hotel until the pandemic hit and plans were scrapped.

The land, which is 70 yards north of the A702 junction with Pentland Road and the A703, has not been used as a petrol station for 20 years and in recent times car washes and vendors of Christmas trees use it.

The reporter should visit the site as part of the inquiry into the request.

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