East Lothian Local Development Plan to be submitted to Scottish Government

east lothian councilEast Lothian councillors have agreed to submit the council’s Proposed Local Development Plan (LDP) to Scottish Ministers for examination.

A blueprint for potential development across East Lothian for the next 10 years, the LDP was agreed at a meeting of full council yesterday to send the plan to Scottish Ministers for the final stage in the process.

Preparation of the LDP has followed a set process including more than three years of research, technical assessment, public and consultee engagement and direction from and reporting to elected members through the stages of the Main Issues Report, draft Proposed LDP and the Proposed LDP, which was approved on 6 September 2016. The LDP was then open for organisations and members of the public to submit their final representations on the proposals.

Douglas Proudfoot, head of service (development) at East Lothian Council, said: “After careful consideration of the representations received, officers have confirmed that the plan does not require modification. Officers have prepared their statements of case in response to each of the issues that have been raised through representations received. The proposed LDP will now be submitted to Scottish Ministers for examination where all of the representations, along with officers’ responses, will be assessed.

“One or more government Reporters will be appointed, in considering the plan and representations made, the Reporter(s) will consider written evidence or they may decide to hold hearing or inquiry sessions into any of the representations. The report of the examination of the LDP, including any changes made to it, will then come back to the council for adoption.

“In effect, this examination forms the final stage in the scrutiny and consultation over the LDP, and representations made in relation to it. This has been a major piece of work involving many council departments, key stakeholders and members of the public in terms of consultation and engagement over many years. I thank everyone for their intensive work in getting the LDP to this stage and to everyone who has taken the time to review the plan and make representations.

“The LDP will go on to inform the determination of all planning applications across the county for the next decade as it sets out where certain types of development will generally be acceptable and where they will not. The plan aims to strike a balance between essential development and infrastructure improvements, including the 10,000 new homes that we’ve been tasked to accommodate, and protecting our communities. It also provides an environment for economic development and new investments which will all add to the vibrancy of East Lothian and protecting our existing communities and local residents by ensuring a sustainable supply of land for affordable housing.”

The plan should be submitted to Scottish Ministers before the end of April. The examination process is then expected to take between three and six months.

The council received 443 representations, of which 150 of those related to the proposed housing allocations in Gullane. Other issues which attracted representations included the adoption of a Compact Strategy which means the majority of development will be in the west of the county and along the main transport routes - concerns were raised about infrastructure, traffic impact, loss of green belt and loss of identity and separation of settlements. The future of the Cockenzie Power Station site also attracted comment.

Requirements for affordable housing provision were broadly supported while there were mixed views on policy on wind turbines and wind farms. Many developers commented on the new measures to protect Countryside Around Towns and there was a view from landowners and developers that the council should go further in relaxing control over development in the countryside, particularly in respect of housing and employment opportunities.

Key agency responses including the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Historic Environment Scotland and Transport Scotland were largely positive in response to the plan, although Transport Scotland did raise concerns in respect of the potential new expanded development at Blindwells and the involvement expected of them in addressing trunk road issues in the county.

The LDP and Schedule 4 Representation Responses for submission to Scottish Ministers can be viewed on the council website.

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