The arguments against the proposed Cala housing project at Saltcoats Fields, Gullane in terms of lack of infrastructure and the over development of a rural community have been well made in local papers by others and need no embellishment from me.
In a letter in last week’s East Lothian Courier one writer argued that the real villain was the planning department at East Lothian Council (ELC). While I have some sympathy for this, one must also point out that there is another player in this scenario – the Scottish Government.
It is the Scottish Government who have decreed that ELC must provide land for 10,000 houses without seemingly giving any thought as to whether East Lothian has the facilities to cope with this kind of increase in a relatively short period of time, and, if not, then providing the funds to improve those facilities.
It would seem that a government that purports to give great weight to local democracy is choosing to ignore the wishes of the local community in this instance as it does not suit their purpose.
The villages and towns of the Lothians are being expanded beyond natural limits to satisfy the economic growth of Edinburgh, whose council and citizens want to protect their own green belt by destroying other communities’ green belts.
In our community council area, all four villages of Gullane, Aberlady, Dirleton and Drem are facing the prospect of massive green field housing estates – predominantly made up of expensive executive housing when there is a huge need for affordable housing.
Those executive houses will, in the main, be bought by commuters who will work either in, or on the west side of, Edinburgh as there are no significant job opportunities in East Lothian.
Here in Gullane we have been subjected to condescending and patronising comments from senior Cala management and anonymous letters purporting to support this development.
We are not anti-new housing. We support the 120 houses that have outline planning permission on the brownfield site of the old fire service training school.
But we believe that this site should be developed first before any green field site is given permission.
This of course does not suit the developers.
Chairman, Gullane Area, Community Council