East Lothian house shortage

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Up to 90 houses could be built on prime agricultural land at Beveridge Row, Belhaven, Dunbar, once a full flooding assessment has been completed.

Hallam Land Management had appealed against East Lothian Council’s failure to issue a decision on their planning application for the houses and were asking for the council to pay expenses incurred by the company in their appeal. But despite agreeing that the development could go ahead, subject to conditions, the Scottish Government’s Reporter refused to make an award in relation to expenses, saying that the council had not acted in an unreasonable manner.

The Reporter acknowledged: “The proposal is contrary to the provisions of the development plan. The site is prime agricultural land and not allocated for development.

“However, I consider that there are compelling material considerations that indicate there is currently a significant shortage of effective housing land in East Lothian. This shortage is serious enough to justify the exceptional release of new housing land where there are no overriding planning objections.”

There have been a number of objections to the plans and in January one resident contacted the Reporter providing photographs of flooding near the development site, adding weight to one of the objections about surface water flooding.

The Reporter agreed: “The extent of the surface water and proximity to existing residential properties are matters of concern. Planning permission in principle should not be granted without a full drainage and flooding assessment.”