CALA Homes, Aberlady housing planning permission, Southeast Scotland property news

CALA Homes development, Aberlady : East Lothian Housing

New East Lothian property development : private houses in southeast Scotland opposed by Conservation Society

Aberlady Conservation Society Information:

Aberlady Conservation Society won the backing of an influential Parliamentary Committee in its concerns about the planning consent given to CALA Homes by East Lothian Council.

Aberlady Homes

In April last year, the Society submitted a Petition to the Scottish Parliament about the unnecessary damage caused to rural villages like Aberlady by poor decision-making by planning authorities. The Petition said that national planning policies were being wilfully misinterpreted or ignored by Planners afraid to take on large house-builders.

Parliament’s influential Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment, noted that while policies sufficient to the task were in place, local implementation of these policies by planning authorities “rarely exhibits best practice”. The Group agreed with the Conservation Society that a body to monitor how well local authorities implemented Scottish Executive planning policies should be introduced.

The Parliamentary Group also agreed that local planning authorities often lack the professional confidence to refuse planning applications from national developers. Consequently, training and education support and the use of external advisory panels with the necessary expertise were necessary. The Group gave an ominous warning that until such time as local authorities develop the professionalism to take a more proactive and robust view on housing developments, further damage to rural Scotland was inevitable. The Group also suggests that Village Design Statements – a suggestion made by Aberlady Conservation Society but refused by East Lothian planners – should be introduced by planning authorities and design competitions considered.

The background to the Petition lay in the decision by East Lothian Planners to recommend approval of the Cala Homes application to build 93 houses in the village. The local Conservation Group battled long and hard to have the Council to refuse the application on grounds of inappropriate design, housing density and public safety.

The backing was welcomed by Aberlady Conservation Society: Its Secretary Ian Malcolm commented:

‘The recommendations of the Cross Party Group – which includes external experts in addition to elected MSPs – provides further evidence in our case to the Ombudsman that the decision of the local planning authority was seriously flawed. However, nothing now can remedy what is happening on the ground in what was a pretty little rural East Lothian village.

We tried our very best but, whether through lack of training or professionalism, the planners and councillors gave the thumbs up. It remains our view that no objective observer, layman or professional, visiting the site could agree that this development was in keeping with clearly expressed national policies.

The decision was badly wrong on these grounds alone never mind the public safety issues arising from a clear failure to carry out the recommended transportation assessment. Yet, this Council will continue to argue that black is white.’

Issued by Aberlady Conservation Society

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