IT’S been more than a year since Gullane’s historic fire training college shut its doors for the final time – but the site is now finally set for a new lease of life.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service facility closed in March last year after it was decided training would be centralised at Cambuslang in a move widely condemned as “unacceptable”.
Now developers have unveiled plans to build 125 new homes on the brownfield site, which has stood empty since its operations were moved in 2013.
The project is being taken on by housebuilder Cala Homes in line with planning permission approved by East Lothian Council in April this year.
The development will include 31 affordable homes and will also include the refurbishment of the former training college’s Henderson House entrance.
East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray was among those who opposed the college’s closure.
On the plans for the site, he said: “The local community in Gullane are keen to see the fire college redeveloped as soon as possible – they do not want it lying vacant any longer.
“Their only concerns are that the houses provided are not holiday homes, and they are affordable for local people to live in, so they will be studying the plans carefully.
“However, residents may be supportive of this Cala development, they remain resolutely opposed to the company’s other plans for greenfield sites nearby.”
Work on the homes could get under way early next year.
Cala Homes has also pledged to hand over £1.8 million to East Lothian Council for the improvement and expansion of education in the area.
The money is set to go towards Gullane Pre-School, Gullane Primary and North Berwick High School.
Craig Lynes, land director at Cala Homes, said: “Brownfield sites, such as this, play an important part in Cala’s plans for development across Scotland, and help to meet the housing targets set by the Scottish Government. The former fire college is a unique site, offering an excellent opportunity to create a quality environment comprising a range of homes to suit a variety of needs.
“Central to the detailed plans is the sensitive conversion of the landmark Henderson House into a range of apartments of varying sizes.
“This will be complemented with a mix of new build apartments, mews, terraced and semi/detached housing – tailored in response to the site’s approved masterplan.”
Gullane Area Community Council welcomed the plans.
Chairman Jeremy Findlay said: “It’s a brown field site and if something isn’t done it will go to rack and ruin.
“The community council are very supportive of the fire station site as long as it’s done before the others Cala is hoping to build on.”
He added the council felt it was vital all 31 affordable homes were built on the site and not moved at a later date.