East Lothian Council’s Planning Committee met remotely on Tuesday 28 March and approved a retrospective planning application for car parking at the Hopes Estate.

The application was called off the Scheme of Delegation list by Councillor McMillan, who said it had raised many issues and comments around ownership, access, land use, roads, parking and previous history of use, and therefore merited a discussion by the committee.

The committee heard that there had long been parking available in the area, near Gifford and close to the Hopes Reservoir, on land owned by Scottish Water and on road verges. The new car park had been created by the applicant, Moorfoot Capital Management,  following Scottish Water work on the site, for which an area of hard standing had been created. This area had been fenced and gated and now forms a car park. The new parking area can be accessed by purchasing a permit from a shop in Gifford village.

A total of 40 objections to the application had been received, 30 of which were within the deadline for submissions. The main reasons for objection were the limited time the new parking was available, plus obstructions to other parking including tree planting and signage. The cost and inconvenience of buying a permit was also mentioned. Gifford community council did not object to the application on the condition that barriers to other parking on Scottish Water land and on road verges were removed and that the time limits on parking and the need to buy a permit were scrapped.

Following a debate, councillors voted in favour of the application subject to the imposition of a condition regarding access and finalising wording to be agreed following consultation with the applicant.

The committee also approved permission for 86 houses and four flats on land to the north of Castlehill, Elphinstone. The development was previously granted planning permission in December 2022 but a further assessment was required due to the recent adoption of the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4). Planners found that the application was compliant with the relevant policies of NPF4, with the addition of a condition requiring the provision of public art. A condition requiring the provision of footpaths/cycleways and offsite path links was amended, with a particular focus on a suitable crossing to and from the primary school. Permission is also dependant on a Section 75 agreement being concluded within six months, which states levels of provision from the developer for local road, school and sports facility improvements, as well as the provision of 23 units of affordable housing on the site.

Approval was also granted for infrastructure work on the north east of the larger development site at Wallyford, including roads, cycle and footpaths, vehicular access, landscaping, SuDS drainage and the formation of play areas. These works were specified in a planning condition for the wider site and councillors voted  to approve the details of the work.

The relevant application numbers are Gifford, 23/00059/P; Elphinstone, 21/01608/PM and Wallyford, 22/00749/AMM and 15/00537/PPM.

Published: Tuesday, 28th March 2023