DEVELOPERS believe there is potential for a new town to be built in East Lothian which would swallow up Drem and Fenton Barns.

A meeting of East Lothian Council heard from the local authority’s head of planning that they were under pressure to look at land surrounding both villages, with developers suggesting thousands of homes could be built there.

Speaking as the council approved a final draft of its Local Development Plan, Iain McFarlane said: “Developers still believe there is the potential for 6,000 units at Drem and Fenton Barns.”

The council’s final draft, which now goes to Scottish Ministers for approval, opted for a compact strategy, which will see the majority of 10,050 houses which they have been told to build constructed in the west of the county.

An alternative dispersed strategy, which was rejected by the council administration, would have opened the way for thousands of homes at locations like Drem and Fenton Barns.

In the council’s own Main Issues Report, the main consultation document which helped draft the plan, they acknowledged: “If a major development were to be promoted here there are broadly two options: 1) to make it of a size that would be able to support a new primary school at circa 1,000 homes, or 2) to make it of a size that would support a new secondary school at circa 5,000-6,000 homes. In the case of the former it is unlikely that such a scale of growth would support a reasonable range of local amenities and facilities; this would likely require a scale of growth equivalent to that needed to support a new secondary school.”

In submissions to the draft Local Development Plan, Wallace Land Investment and Management produced its vision for a 1,000-home village at Fenton Barns, with a new primary school. Cala Management Ltd also submitted a vision for 2,000 new homes at Drem.

A council spokesperson said: “Developers were keen to have more sites identified at Drem and Fenton Barns, and there likely would have been more sites there under the proposed dispersed strategy. This isn’t the case as the LDP has focused on the compact strategy, although as part of representations, developers are still suggesting more sites should be available in these areas.”