CONCERNED residents will hold a public meeting in North Berwick this evening after developers denied permission to build on local land lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government.
Plans for a development of 140 new homes on the Ferry- gate Farm site on the western edge of the town, which has not been zoned for housing, were rejected by East Lothian Council in April after 24 objections were raised by residents.
Miller Homes has now appealed to the Scottish Government against the refusal.
A spokesperson said: “There is a significant shortfall of housing in East Lothian to meet the Government and council requirements for the area, and these proposals will help reduce the deficit.”
However, North Berwick Community Council, who have organised a meeting at St Andrew Blackadder Church at 7.30pm this evening, claim this development could be “the straw that broke the camel’s back” and that their town has become a “target for property developers” who are “taking advantage of the serious shortage of housing in East Lothian to promote their business”.
Concerns over the development included extra pressure on an already strained parking and traffic system, and the need for an upgraded sewage system. Residents also fear over-development of North Berwick could drive away tourists, a major source of income for the town.
Two other developments have already been mooted for the area, with 120 new homes at Gilsland and Newhouse Farm from CALA Homes already approved, while a decision regarding a plan by the Walker Group to build 420 homes at Mains Farm is still forthcoming.
Council leader Willie Innes said: “The Ferrygate development is contrary to local planning and the Planning Council quite rightly rejected it. We went through significant public consultation, therefore any deviation from that is unfair as the wider public will not have a chance to express their opinion. I hope these points are taken under serious consideration by the Scottish Government.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government confirmed that an appeal against the decision to refuse planning permission had been lodged.
She added: “A reporter will be appointed by Scottish Ministers to determine the case but, as the appeal is at an early stage it would not be appropriate to comment on the merits of the case, other than to say that all of the information submitted by parties during the application and appeal process will be carefully considered. Progress on the appeal can be followed via the DPEA website.”
The spokesman for Miller Homes said: “We believe that North Berwick would benefit from these proposals, which would extend the town in a sustainable manner, providing much-needed new homes.”