Hundreds object to plans for new £49 million retirement village near North Berwick

More than 600 North Berwick residents took part in a survey over plans for a £49 million retirement village on the outskirts of their town with 97 percent against it, it has been revealed.
An image of the planned retirement village near North BerwickAn image of the planned retirement village near North Berwick
An image of the planned retirement village near North Berwick

East Lothian SNP launched the survey after developers Goldcrest lodged an appeal with Scottish government over the plans which were rejected by East Lothian planners.

Councillor Paul McLennan, SNP Holyrood candidate for the county, said he organised the survey after local residents raised concerns about the appeal with him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Goldcrest had applied for planning permission to build 152 residential and care units on fields at Castleton Farm, outside the town.

However the plans were thrown out after planners branded them “grossly out of character” with the rural setting and local GP Dr Clare Doldon compared the village to a ghetto.

She told a virtual meeting of the council’s planning committee “This proposal has the potential to ghettoise this community as it is too far to walk into the town.”

Goldcrest has now appealed to Scottish Ministers to overturn the decision however Mr McLennan said the results of the survey, he organised showed the community was overwhelmingly against the care village.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “I was contacted by a number of North Berwick Residents asking my opinion of the Goldcrest appeal for the development at Castleton Mains.

“I decided at that stage to undertake a survey to ascertain views of the local community – I was amazed at the level of responses in such a short period of time. “

“Our responses showed 97 per cent of respondents were against the proposal.”

Mr McLennan said the reasons for the opposition were also consistent across the board.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “Lack of support of the proposal by local GPs; Lack of consultation with East Lothian Health authorities; the scale of the development; and the visual impact of the proposal to the approach to the village all featured.

“The Goldcrest appeal is now focussing on what they see as a “housing supply shortfall” in East Lothian.

“I don’t agree with this argument and have been working with local groups in North Berwick to help prepare a response to the Planning Reporter in that regard.

“A mark of a good developer is their approach to community consultation and listening- Goldcrest have failed miserably. They can`t be allowed to succeed”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At the planning committee in August Goldcrest were criticised for not looking at alternative sites in the county, already earmarked for development.

Labour councillor Jim Goodfellow urged the committee to throw out the application, describing the decision as “straightforward”.

He said: “The only possible decision on this application is to refuse it.”

Fellow ward councillor Jeremy Findlay (Cons) has urged Scottish Ministers to reject the appeal by Goldcrest.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “Local residents and East Lothian Council have made their views on the Castleton retirement village very clear and the decision to reject the application reflected this. It would be outrageous if the Scottish government overturned the decision of our locally elected representatives.”

Fellow councillor Craig Hoy, the Scottish Conservatives’ Holyrood candidate for next year’s election, added: “The clock is ticking on time to object and residents have until December 31 to make your voice heard. If local communities are against this proposal then I urge them let the Scottish Reporter know.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.