Gullane residents battle plans for 200 new homes

Artist's impression of the proposed development. Picture: supplied
Artist's impression of the proposed development. Picture: supplied
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RESIDENTS are battling to stop construction of almost 200 new homes on greenfield sites on the edge of Gullane, warning the developments would put “huge pressure” on schools, transport and health services.

Housebuilder Cala is expected to lodge formal planning applications later this month for two sites, known as Saltcoats Field, proposed for around 130 houses, and Fenton Gait East, which would have around 50 homes.

But a group has already been launched to campaign against the proposals.

Gullane in Opposition to Over-development (GOOD) spokesman Keith Anderson, said: “Gullane is an idyllic village, with a strong community feel, and this will turn us into a giant executive housing estate.”

He said the community was not opposed to all development in the area and cited the approval in principle of plans to build up to 125 homes at the site of the town’s former fire training college.

He said: “Far from being Nimbyist, Gullane residents welcome development plans for the now defunct fire training school – a potentially extremely interesting, mixed development of flats, small houses and office space.

“But they also value their responsibility of being surrounded by top-class arable land, a precious commodity that is predicted to become even more needed in the foreseeable future.

“The greenfield sites raise many important issues, including the huge pressure on schools, transport and the GP surgery – the infrastructure will be unable to support such development.

“This community has grown at a sustainable pace over the past 30 years; now it proposed that it is should explode by 30 per cent of its present size.

“Scotland needs food and affordable housing, ideally in locations with good transport links and close to places of employment.

“What it is does not need is endless executive homes surrounded by acres of monoblock driveways: a nightmare vision that has given rise, to the popular expression ‘Calacide’”.

Under the South East Scotland Strategic Development Plan (SESPLAN), East Lothian Council is required to find land for more than 10,000 new homes in the next ten years.

Both the sites where Cala wants to build have been identified as suitable for housing in East Lothian’s draft Local Development Plan.

Cala submitted Proposal of Application Notices for the two sites to the local authority earlier this year and a two-day consultation event was held in March.

The firm has said if it gets the go-ahead the homes could be built and occupied by late next year.

Derek Lawson, strategic land director for Cala Homes (East), said the sites at Fenton Gait and Saltcoats Field had both been earmarked for residential development by East Lothian Council as part of a wider release of land across the county.

He said: “There is an established need for approximately 10,000 new homes across East Lothian to 2024. This includes brownfield sites such as the fire training college, but also additional greenfield sites to meet local housing need.

“East Lothian has a housing shortfall and has lost various planning appeals in recent years. The housing sites in Gullane are part of a wider strategy to remedy that shortfall via the emerging Local Development Plan, set against investment in infrastructure such as schools and local facilities.

“We have consulted with the community, and recognise there are concerns about development and the associated cumulative impacts.

“On issues like traffic and school places, we shall be working with the council on ways to mitigate the impact of development.

“As a responsible housebuilder we want to make sure that the families who move into our homes can get access to local school places and that the roads are safe. Those are common goals we have with the local community.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com