MEMBERS of North Berwick Community Council unanimously voted against plans for a care village at Castleton Farm at a public meeting this week.

More than 230 members of the public attended the meeting on Tuesday evening, which was held in the sanctuary at St Andrew Blackadder Church.

Representatives from the developers were also in attendance; however, they did not give a presentation.

Proposals from Goldcrest Communities Limited and Richmond Care Villages Holdings Limited for the care village on the eastern edge of the town include a multi-storey care home, 94 independent living units, 38 assisted living units and 20 bungalows.

At the start of the meeting, ward councillor Jim Goodfellow clarified that East Lothian Council must listen to every planning application regardless of what it is.

Community council member Christiane Maher gave a detailed presentation outlining the plans, how views would be impacted and the type of land being built on.

However, she did note that those in bigger houses might want to downsize but stay in the same area, so moving to properties within the care village would free up bigger houses for other people.

After the presentation, the floor was opened to questions and comments from members of the public.

One man told developers to “leave our beautiful town alone”, while others called on them to “withdraw your application” and not ruin “one of the finest views in Scotland”.

One of the first to comment was a woman from North Berwick Health Centre who said the centre was already pushed to breaking point.

The owner of neighbouring land south-west of the development said: “I am passionate that we keep our countryside for our children and grandchildren. If we lose this field, it’s the end.”

The site of the former Cockenzie Power Station was suggested as an alternative location for the development, with others saying that land west of North Berwick suited better than land at the east.

After about an hour, community councillors were invited to add further comments.

Ian Watson said: “To put a retirement village outside of North Berwick is simply not right, it’s the wrong place and the wrong development.”

Bill Macnair added: “I would like this to be a wake-up call for East Lothian Council and the NHS to try and do something about the health centre and care services here.”

All community council members present then voted against the plans.

While everyone was leaving, Martin Young, head of development at Bupa, asked to have the right to reply.

He said: “I want to point out I am not one of the developers and I came here tonight genuinely to listen to what people had to say.

“I’m actually a little bit disappointed and upset by what I’ve heard and how you feel.

“I came to the public meeting a number of months ago and there were a lot of views expressed; there were positive views and there were absolutely concerns expressed around the position and location of the development.

“I want to acknowledge that I have heard that tonight and I don’t want to go away from here dismissing that as a concern.”

He added that while he wanted to build the development at Castleton, he understood that it had to be right for the area.

The deadline for submitting comments and objections is next Friday (February 28) but people can comment on the environmental impact assessment until March 9. The plans are available on East Lothian Council's website.