EAST Lothian Council’s planning convenor has pledged to look into a bypass to support Tranent’s growing community after plans for more than 560 houses at Windygoul South were approved.

Councillor Norman Hampshire acknowledged concerns about the impact of additional housing on traffic in the town as a meeting of the planning committee approved the Walker Group proposals.

And he said that the council would be looking into creating a new route to bypass the town and help with traffic problems.

Speaking as the committee approved an application for planning permission in principle for the development, which includes space for a school extension and community sports pitch, Mr Hampshire said it would bring much-needed housing to the town, with 141 affordable homes included in the plans.

He said: “There is a need for affordable housing in Tranent but there are some issues with transport.

“I give a commitment we will look at how we can construct a bypass around Tranent – we need to try and find a way of making that happen.”

The new housing development stretches across 35 hectares of agricultural land south of Windygoul Primary School on the edge of the town.

Plans for another 203 homes to the west of the site are currently being considered by East Lothian Council.

A report to the committee said that Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council had been consulted on the application for the 560 homes but “have not provided any comments”. But the community council told the Courier it lodged objections to the proposed housing in October last year.

A spokesperson said: “The community council lodged an objection which was not based on the development itself but due to the current inefficiencies in the infrastructure to cope with it.

“Our concerns specifically relate to the roads, medical facilities, cemetery and schools within Tranent being unable to cope with the increase in population should this development be permitted to proceed.

“We understand that this objection was not placed before the planning committee – we are taking this matter up with East Lothian Council.”

The community council welcomed the commitment towards a town bypass, which it said would help with the increased traffic brought by the new housing.

But the group added: “This is a long-term solution and we would hope that East Lothian Council will come forward with short and medium-term solutions on parking, the option of a park and ride but more importantly the flow of traffic through the town’s High Street and Elphinstone Road, taking into consideration the findings of the Tranent Charrette report of 2016.

“We are keen to be involved in any form of consultation with local people and find a local solution to a local problem.”

Despite concerns about the impact of the additional housing on traffic in the town, councillors supported the planning application, welcoming the affordable housing aspect of the proposal.

Ward councillor Kenny McLeod told the committee he had concerns “every day” about the impact of new housing on the infrastructure of the town, from roads to medical practices, but welcomed the affordable housing.

Mr Hampshire raised concerns about issues caused when the first residents move in and are living alongside construction on what he described as a “large-scale” development which would take eight years to complete.

He said: “There are concerns on other developments where residents have moved in and need a safe route for moving around while construction is ongoing and I am saying this to developers in general, not just in this case. This is an issue across East Lothian.”

Walker Group said it would have stringent health and safety policies in place to address concerns as the development progressed and used an independent health and safety advisor on its projects from “day one”.

The planning committee unanimously approved the application.

Iain Gray, East Lothian MSP, said: “This is a site identified for development in the local plan, but we still need to see a very robust transport plan.

“Traffic in Tranent is undoubtedly a problem and this can only increase that. The NHS also have to tell us how local GP services will cope with the additional patients.”