A ROW over a footpath which has not been built at a new housing estate led to East Lothian’s planning convenor accusing developers of acting without honour.

Councillor Norman Hampshire said he was “extremely disappointed” after Taylor Wimpey applied to have its commitment to upgrade an informal path at new housing in Musselburgh as part of its planning consent discharged.

One mother who attended a meeting of the planning committee said her family moved into the new housing after she was told the path would be created, offering a safe route to school for her children.

However, lawyer Alasdair Sutherland, who represented Taylor Wimpey at the meeting, said it had come to light the developers did not own the land the path was on.

He argued that without ownership of the land, the council could not enforce the condition and make the developers upgrade the path.

The path, known locally as The Drift, runs from the new housing at Pinkie Mains down to the railway bridge and links Musselburgh to Wallyford Railway Station and Wallyford Primary School.

Kaye Nicoll told the committee that she currently has to cross 12 roads to get her daughter to school after moving onto the new estate two years ago.

She said: “We were delighted when Taylor Wimpey told us there was going to be a path almost from the back of our house.

“I think every child should walk to school and my daughter is now nine and desperate to walk on her own.

“I cannot allow her to cross all those roads on her own, some of them are quite dangerous for a nine-year-old.”

The committee was told that Taylor Wimpey was granted planning permission to build 74 houses and 24 flats at Pinkie Mains in March 2017 and one of the conditions attached was that The Drift “shall be constructed to an adoptable standard, including street lighting, along the extent of it between Pinkie Terrace and the East Coast Main Line under bridge”.

It also called for new connections to be added from two cul-de-sacs in the development.

An application to have the condition discharged was made after East Lothian Council planning officers threatened to take enforcement action over the firm’s failure to construct the path.

Councillor Hampshire said: “I am extremely disappointed a company like Taylor Wimpey have taken a decision not to honour a condition proposed by this planning committee.

“They actually used this as a way to sell properties to people; this is not an honourable thing to do.”

Councillor Colin McGinn said: “Surely the developer would look at the conditions and make sure they could meet them before starting to build because in this case it seems they have just built and built and then looked at the conditions.”

Keith Dingwall, head of planning, told the committee that upgrading the path would cost £200,000.

Councillor Kenny McLeod pointed out the cost was equivalent to the price of one of the two or three bedroom houses built on the estate.

And ward councillor Andrew Forrest said he had been at the original planning committee meeting which approved the housing plans.

He said: “I am disappointed by the attitude of Taylor Wimpey. They waxed lyrical about what this development would do for the area and my understanding was they were going to develop that path.”

The committee voted unanimously to reject the application to discharge the condition.

Taylor Wimpey described the decision as disappointing, saying it would now consider its next move.

Pauline Mills, land & planning director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, said: “This condition was added to the consent without any prior engagement with us, which is unusual.

“We have always been aware of the planning condition to provide upgrades to the path known locally as The Drift and, from a very early stage following the issue of the planning consent for our development in Musselburgh, we have attempted to engage with East Lothian Council about the validity of this condition.

“The path is located on land that we do not own and therefore have no control over, and it is outwith the boundary of the development.

“We have therefore been of the view since it was imposed that it is not valid as part of the consent and have made the council aware of that view.

“We have met to discuss this matter fully with the council in order to find an alternative solution and remain committed to do so.”