Speed restrictions should be seen as limits not targets, councillors have been told after safety concerns were raised over a new town.

East Lothian Council's planning committee gave the go ahead to new access roads and 146 houses at one of the new entrances to the Blindwells settlement during an online meeting this week.

It is the first ime detail planning permission has been granted for houses on the 390-acre site.

Excitement over the progress being made with the new town, which has been over a decade in the making, saw one councillor give the planning applications the green light by announcing "let's bash on".

However there were concerns raised about the 40mph speed limit on the country road going past the new entrances with calls for a temporary 30mph reduction in place at the moment because of roadworks to be made permanent.

Transport and planning officials told councillors the road, the A198 which links the A1 to Cockenzie and Port Seton, had no 'frontage' on it to justify a speed reduction.

Marshall Greenshields, transport planning officer, told he committee: "The speed sign should be seen as a limit not a target."

He revealed talks were ongoing with Transport Scotland about improving the Bankton roundabout which will provide one of the entrances to the new town with an additional junction added to it.

Among actions planned to manage the roundabout, which already sees queues of traffic building up onto the A1 in normal rush hour, include extending the slip road off the A1 and a "final solution to put traffic signals on the roundabout".

The committee approved the construction of the new entrance off the Bankton roundabout and a second right turn into the new town further along the A198 with the condition that a review of the speed limit would be carried out.

They also approved an application for 146 houses to be built on part of the site closes to the Bankton roundabout.

The plans by Bellway Homes and Hargreaves were welcomed by councillors who talked about the delays caused to the development of Blindwells from the financial crash over a decade ago to the current lockdown.

Developers Hargreaves Land who own the site had hoped to see house on the site by the end of this year however lockdown has had an impact as remedial work on the ground, which is the site of a former coal mine, stalled.

The planning application for the first homes on the site sets out a timescale of 23 being built before the end of this financial year with a potential of more than 100 on site by the end of the 2021/22 year.

The site has been described as a jigsaw with plans to phase housing across the land as groundwork is completed.

Planning permission in principle for 1,600 houses on the site was approved in 2018 and expected to be completed over 11 phases in the next 10 to 15 years.

The 146 houses are the first to be granted detailed planning permission in the new town.

Plans for a further 60 houses and flats in another piece of the land are still awaiting approval.

In total nearly 6,000 homes are expected to be built at Blindwells.

Iain Slater, from Hargreaves addressed concerns by councillors about the impact of the town on surrounding GP practices.

He told the committee: " We have identified a site at the end of the high street (of Blindwells) and are looking at what can go on it.

"We are talking about a health centre which would have doctors, dentists, members of the public using some of the facility and adult learning and support as well."

Councillor Willie Innes, council leader, pointed out the decision to create the new town was taken to protect surrounding communities from having to expand to meet the demand for housing.

He said: "It has been a long time coming and it is important to remember why it is so vital to our communities."

Councillor Kenny McLeod whose ward will take in the first part of the developing new town, told the committee: "Let's bash on".