CONSERVATION watchdogs have renewed their concerns about the impact of more than 5,000 new homes on Musselburgh in the wake of the adoption of the East Lothian Local Development Plan (LDP).

The “landmark” document was approved by East Lothian Council last month, outlining sites where it feels developments are acceptable.

Musselburgh Conservation Society is particularly worried about the traffic impact on the town with the influx of new homes.

Spokesman Barry Turner, a former councillor and retired town planner, said: “A message that came through loud and clear at the committee meeting is that all the necessary supporting infrastructure must be in place before all the new homes are occupied and we are now dependent on this happening.

“The society remains to be convinced that the meagre measures proposed by the council to mitigate the traffic impact will be effective.

“The society is disappointed that its proposals for a reduction in the number of new dwellings proposed in and around Musselburgh, which did not involve building elsewhere, were rejected by the council when finalising the plan and also by the Scottish Government reporters when examining it.

“The only saving grace stemming from adoption of the plan is that it will hopefully put an end to speculative housing proposals on inappropriate sites, provided that the Scottish Government does not give in to developers and grant permission on appeal.

“This should not happen with an up-to-date plan with a generous housing land supply in place.

“Our worry is that for delivery we are in the hands of developers and if proposals fail to come forward on some of the allocated sites then unwanted alternatives like Goshen Farm will again be put forward to make up the numbers.”

Queen Margaret University (QMU) welcomed the adoption of the development, which safeguards the land adjacent to its Musselburgh campus for job creation purposes.

A university spokesman said: “QMU chose to move to East Lothian partly because of the attraction of opportunities to locate research activities alongside new incubation and employment facilities on the land immediately adjacent to the new campus.

“This is an important milestone which brings us a step closer to progressing plans for sustainable commercial development that could rejuvenate the community including provision of facilities of benefit to local residents.

“It should accelerate plans to complete the A1 junction at QMU to unlock the full potential of the site.”

The East Lothian LDP provides the essential framework against which planning applications will be assessed.

Following an extensive period of consultation, the council produced its draft LDP, which was submitted to the Scottish Government reporter for examination.

The result of that examination was received in March, with some recommended modifications to the proposed LDP.

These included the removal of sites earmarked for potential new housing including at Howe Mire, Wallyford.

The ELLDP 2018 approved by the council now has to go through the final stage of being reviewed by Scottish Ministers and, once cleared by them, will then be formally adopted as the East Lothian Local Development Plan by the council.