HOUSES planned for the outskirts of Gullane could be occupied by the end of next year – if planning permission is given.

Proposals for Fenton Gait East and Saltcoats Field went before members of the public for the first time last Friday and Saturday.

CALA Management Ltd held an exhibition at The Golf Inn and Derek Lawson, strategic land director with CALA Homes (east), was pleased to see about 200 people turn out to comment on the proposals.

He acknowledged some people had “concerns” with the schemes but felt the exhibition gave members of the public a chance to have their say.

He said: “Of course some have concerns about the changes being proposed. This gave us a chance to explain how we hope to be part of a long-term, considered evolution of Gullane, which will bring increased housing choice and associated benefits to the area.

“Like many villages across East Lothian and Scotland, Gullane has changed and grown over time and we want to ensure that the next stage of this growth is planned and managed as best we can and in conjunction with local residents and East Lothian Council.”

Issues like traffic and school places have already been raised, with CALA vowing to look at how any concerns can be addressed.

Mr Lawson added: “As a responsible house builder, we want to make sure the families who move into our homes can get access to school places and the roads are safe. Those are common goals we have with people.

“We will be assessing all of their concerns in detail. This should be an opportunity for locals to make sure that any development in Gullane brings long-term value to the area, such as school improvements, enhanced links to the countryside, improvements in traffic management and housing choice.”

Jeremy Findlay, chairman of the village’s community council, felt the exhibition had proven worthwhile.

He said: “When the application goes in, at that point we will do our own response and encourage people to respond as well.

“Most people in the village seem to be against the development, particularly Saltcoats Field, although there are people not keen on Fenton Gait East either.

“The point I would like to get across is the big question mark for local democracy. Will East Lothian Council and the Scottish Government listen to what people say, or will it be disregarded like the people of North Berwick were over Ferrygate?”

Under the proposals, about 50 houses could be built at Fenton Gait East, to the east of Muirfield Steading, with 130 homes at Saltcoats Field, to the south of Muirfield Grove. Mr Findlay felt residents would prefer to see the former fire college site transformed into housing.

An application for planning permission in principle was submitted by the SFRS in September last year, looking at more than 100 houses being built, but no decision has been taken by East Lothian Council.