East Lothian Council’s Planning Committee met via Skype on Tuesday 24th June and considered a number of applications, including one for 122 houses and 20 flats at Main Road, Macmerry.

Planning permission was originally sought for the erection of 157 houses and flats. That has now been amended to 142 homes – 122 houses and 20 flats. 36 homes would be affordable housing. The applicant submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) in 2016, which included public consultation. The report of that consultation was included in the current application. Changes to the proposal, to the northwest of Macmerry, included a reduction in size of the overall site and there are no longer plans to construct a community hall. Planning permission in principle was granted for the development.


Planning permission in principle was granted in 2018 for 115 homes and a cemetery at Newtonlees Farm, Dunbar and committee members have now agreed the conditions attached to permission for these homes, 29 of which will be affordable. The conditions include the design, layout and appearance of the houses and the preparation of a green travel plan including pedestrian and cycle links to the site and safe routes to school.


Committee members also considered a retrospective application for a chalet and shed at Hodges Farm, The Boggs, Pencaitland. They decided to uphold the officer’s recommendation to refuse permission for the development. In 2016, the applicant enquired about building a new house on the site then, in September 2017, they enquired about siting a chalet on Hodges Farm to accommodate elderly relatives and in 2019 they again enquired about clearing trees and building a house on the site. The advice given in relation to all of these enquiries was that planning policies would not support the siting of a chalet or house for permanent residential use unless it could be demonstrated that there was an operational need for the new residential unit to support an existing business.


Committee members agreed to an alteration of a planning condition attached to the expansion of Seton Sands Holiday Village, namely that a Puffin pedestrian crossing point be constructed on Links Road, replacing the existing pedestrian islands on the road.


Planning permission in principle was granted in May 2018 for the creation of a 128 hectare new town at Blindwells, which will include residential, employment, education and commercial uses with park and ride and rail halt facilities. Committee members, on Tuesday, agreed permission for one phase of this development, namely the part of the site which will accommodate 60 of the affordable homes which will be incorporated across the whole Blindwells site. There is expected to be a total of 480 affordable homes. This specific part of the development will include 32 houses and 28 flats.


Permission for a new four-bedroom house on the site of the old Schoolmaster’s House on the Whittingehame Estate was refused as it was not supported by planning policies, including that fact the development was not necessary to support the running of a rural business or to fund the restoration of a historic building. The decision went to a vote, resulting in eight votes for refusal and three to approve permission.


The committee members also approved planning permission for a new house west of Manor Gardens, Belhaven. Council officers had recommended refusal of permission due to the potential loss of mature trees and the adverse affect that could have on the Belhaven Conservation Area. However, after a long debate, members voted unanimously to approve permission, with conditions to be agreed between local members and planning officers, including that tree roots are not damaged by activities on site.


The committee also agreed to extend the timescale for detailed applications to come forward for a large housing development with associated amenities at Dolphinstone. Normally, an applicant must apply for detailed permission within three years of a grant of permission in principle but, as this is a large scale development which will come forward in phases, committee members agreed to direct that detailed applications should be made within 10 years instead.


The relevant application numbers are: Newtonlees Farm, Dunbar, 19/00796/AMM and  17/00020/PPM;  Macmerry, 18/01086/PM; The Boggs, Pencaitland, 19/01208/P; Seton Sands Holiday Village, 17/01185/PM; Blindwells, 19/01068/AMM and 14/00768/PPM and Whittingehame, 20/00169/P.


Published: Wednesday, 24th June 2020