COUNTY residents can now cast their vote on what name to give East Lothian's new town.

Thousands of homes are to be built on the site of the former Blindwells opencast coal mine between Tranent and Longniddry.

After inviting school pupils to suggest possible names for the new town, East Lothian Council put together a shortlist.

Five of the "most popular and suitable" names submitted by schools were selected by a panel of councillors and council officials: Charlestoun, Hattonfield, Hopetoun, Muirdale and Nethermuir.

The council had urged schools to come up with a "fresh, new name" for the new town and had told them that it did not feel that officially naming the town Blindwells, with its connections to the site's mining past, "fits with all the great new facilities that are going to be in the new town".

This caused upset in some quarters that the county's industrial heritage was being ignored.

And following public pleas, including a written submission to the council chief executive from Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, the name Blindwells was added to the shortlist in the wake of, said the local authority, “representations”.

At a meeting of councillors on Tuesday, that decision was welcomed.

Councillor Lachlan Bruce said: “I welcome the inclusion of Blindwells. It is something I have been hearing about constantly from local residents.”

Fellow councillor Neil Gilbert added: “It is good news Blindwells is considered.”

Planning permission for the first 1,600 houses at the site has already been granted and the first homes are expected to be built next year.

The public consultation on the name for East Lothian’s new town has now opened - with anyone who logs on to the council's consultation hub able to vote for their favourite out of the six shortlisted.

Councillor Willie Innes, the council leader, said: "This is a truly exciting opportunity to come up with a name for this town.

"We wanted all school pupils in East Lothian to be involved as they are the generation who will be most likely to be living and working in this new settlement.

"We are very grateful to our schools for their deliberations and responses. As there has been a lot of public interest in what the new town will be called, we wanted to give the public the chance to vote on the final shortlist.”

Votes can be cast until December 4 here.