Tranent homes bid rejected due to loss of employment land

Tranent homes bid rejected due to loss of employment land

East Lothian Council has refused planning permission for almost 200 new homes in Tranent with councillors calling for more power to protect land set aside for business use.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes wanted to build 171 houses and 24 flats along with business units, a shop and a restaurant on land between Elphinstone Road and the Windygoul South site currently being developed by Walker Homes.

Planners had recommended refusal of the application as the council’s Local Development Plan designates the site for business use only. 

A report to the committee from planners said that the developers had said it was “highly unlikely that this site will be developed for commercial property uses”.

Planning officers added the developers had refused to pay a contribution towards sports facilities at the site if given the go-ahead, the East Lothian Courier reports. However, Bruce Hampton from Mactaggart and Mickel said that they were not against paying a sporting contribution but disputed the amount.

Councillors unanimously agreed to refuse permission.

Committee members also passed a motion to write to Scottish Government Ministers to ask for support in protecting areas allocated by the local authority for business use.

Councillor Colin McGinn said: “I am concerned about the nature of this application. My personal opinion is it is a speculative application designed to override the current Local Development Plan.

“It aims to push land identified as employment land towards a much more profitable and lucrative model, which emphasises my point in the debate over sports provision.

“There is a fundamental issue here and we are going to see other application of this nature come forward and we need to take some further action.

“We need to write to the Scottish Government to discuss how we and other local authorities maintain control of these areas of land identified under our LDPs.

“If we don’t get permission to take control of this, we are in danger of losing land which is earmarked for employment.”

Councillor Norman Hampshire, planning convenor and council leader, said that allowing more housing on land which was not already set aside for residential development in the county would “break” the council.

He said: “We are now in the situation in East Lothian where the landowners and developers who own the site we have allocation for economic development are not bringing them forward.

“They are not putting in the infrastructure required for economic development to take place, so we have ended up with lots of green fields and no economic development.

“We need more power to be given to this council to allow us to bring these sites forward and make sure there is availability for new businesses and expanding businesses to stay within the county.

“If this application was to go through, the planning system would be broken.

“We are at a max as far as new build in East Lothian. We cannot afford to build any new developments over and above what is in the LDP because the cost of delivering that would break the bank within East Lothian Council.”

Proposals for the Windygoul site were first lodged with East Lothian Council in February 2018 and had been amended several times, with the number of homes proposed dropping from 203 to 195.

All of the residential properties, which would have been split into 49 affordable housing units for social rent, 59 mid-market rent properties and 87 houses for private sale, would have been two-storey.

The affordable homes for social rent would have been split into a mix of one-bedroom flats and two, three and four-bedroom terraced or semi-detached homes.

The private housing for sale and mid-market rent properties would also have been a mix of two, three and four-bedroom, with 59 detached, a further 59 terraced houses and 28 semi-detached properties.

The business units, bar/restaurant and shop would all have been based at the west of the site, off Elphinstone Road.

Share icon
Share this article: