100 houses to be built on Gullane fire college site

The former fire college in Gullane. Picture: Neil Hanna

The former fire college in Gullane. Picture: Neil Hanna

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around 100 new homes are set to be built on the site of the former national fire college in Gullane.

Following a meeting of council leaders last week in The Brunton, Musselburgh, the ruling Labour-Tory coalition, plus an independent councillor, voted to back a development strategy that will see the majority of 10,000 new homes for East Lothian built in the west of the county.

Under the plans, about 300 new homes have been proposed in total over four different sites in Gullane, including the former fire college, Saltcoats, to the south of the village, Fenton Gait East and Fenton Gait South.

Roseanne Ainslie, from the Gullane Area Community Council, said residents appeared to be happy the old site is being put to good use, but explained that there were concerns about traffic management plans.

She said: “We have accepted that it is reasonable to develop on the fire college site.

“Residents in the local area are happy that the site will be used but we do have concerns about traffic management.

“The road to the west of the site, Muirhill Drive, is the only main road from the primary school, so if 100 new houses were to be built there that would need to be considered.

“We were a bit disappointed that the proposals consist of all houses and flats, we were hoping for some work stations too.”

An application has already been submitted by builders for planning permission for a residential development on the site.

The iconic fire college shut its doors on March 13 this year.

It was originally opened as a hotel in 1954 and provided initial training for all newly-recruited firefighters across Scotland as well as specialist training for serving staff.

It expanded over the years and eventually consisted of seven buildings, including a “real fire” training facility.

Thousands of firefighters trained there over six decades before it closed its doors, and now all of its work has been transferred to the former Strathclyde training base at Cambuslang, which will serve the whole Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray, who campaigned earlier this year to save the college, told the News that residents were hoping to see a “mixed development” built on the site which would provide some jobs as well as “any residential proposals” when the college closed.

Land at Saltcoats is allocated for a residential development of about 130 homes while Fenton Gait East and Fenton Gait South, have been earmarked for about 65 homes in total.

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com