New town with 1600 homes planned on old mine site

The new town is planned for this site at Blindwells. Picture: Colin Hattersley

The new town is planned for this site at Blindwells. Picture: Colin Hattersley

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plans to create a new town boasting 1600 homes on a former opencast mining site near Tranent have been unveiled.

Blueprints for the 300-acre development in East Lothian includes large community parks, a loch, a park and ride, a supermarket as well as shops and business parks.

And at the centre of the new community vision is a large school campus with multiple playing fields.

If approved, it is thought the proposed town – which has been shelved several times – may now be back on track with work expected to begin by the end of the year.

Developers Hargreaves claim “hundreds of jobs” would be created constructing the town – located between Tranent and Longniddry – and in maintaining the huge estate.

It comes months after Scottish Enterprise expressed an interest in the land as part its proposed marine energy park which would stretch from the site of the former Cockenzie Power Station to Blindwells.

Iain Slater, head of property for Hargreaves – the firm that stepped in following the demise of mining firm Scottish Resources Group – said: “While we have expressed an interest to be involved in the proposed marine energy park, these are only initial proposals being discussed at present and we wait to see how and if they progress.”

And he added: “It is fair to say this development is been long anticipated, with many eager to find out more about its future, and from the outset we’ve said we are fully committed to these proposals reaching a positive outcome.

“This is more than just a housing development; it will provide so much more with education facilities, a supermarket, local shops and space for other community service being just some of the elements.”

Blindwells was earmarked as a significant housing site more than a decade ago and included in the county’s development blueprint.

Plans include community areas to be named Princes Park and Princes Loch in a nod to the site’s historic links to Bonnie Prince Charlie, and it is likely the new town will be given a new name which also reflects its past.

Heritage chiefs previously suggested naming the area Riggonhead in memory of the early-morning silent march that Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite troops made across boggy land at Riggonhead Farm – on what is now Blindwells – in 1745. This surprise attack on government forces, camped to the east, became the Battle of Prestonpans and is considered Prince Charlie’s greatest victory.

Jimmy Yule, chairman of Prestonpans Community Council, welcomed the progress made.

“I am delighted this is going ahead as long as it provides the important community facilities such as a school and health centre, which the new community will need.”

A series of public consultations will be held in November.