A bid to put two residential caravans on a site which had permission to store them has been thrown out on appeal by councillors.

Lammermuir Livery and Stables wanted to provide accommodation for relief staff for their stable manager to live at their rural base at Castlemains Farm, Gifford, to run the business.

And they hoped East Lothian Council would back their plan if the caravans were hidden from sight on nearby land already used to store mobile homes and other vehicles.

However councillor officers refused to grant planning permission and the council’s Local Review Body backed their decision during an online meeting this week when they refused an appeal against it.

The planning application, which was retrospective also asked for permission to have an office, already built at the entrance to to site, but that was also rejected by the review body.

Making their case for the caravans, the firm said: “When considering this we were aware of the visual impact a caravan could have on the landscape

and decided the best option would be to site the caravan in the existing storage yard in an area designated for that purpose, this area already has caravans stored, which we have permission for and therefore the caravan would not be a new thing in that area.”

However Councillor Norman Hampshire, review body chairperson, described the decision to let people live in a storage area as ‘unacceptable’.

He said: “I do not think residential caravans on a storage site is an acceptable place for people to be living.”

The stables had also argued that there was not secure space within the equestrian buildings it had at he farm for an office and one needed to be built on another part of the land, however this was also dismissed by the review body.

Members carried out individual site visits to the farm ahead of meeting today (Thursday) online.

Councillor Sue Kempson said: “The caravans are in the wrong place and should not be used as living accommodation on a storage site, it sets a precedent.

“Looking around the equestrian site there is plenty of room to provide a secure office so I am supporting the officers’ decision.”

Fellow body member Councillor Kenny McLeod made the decision unanimous when he ruled the office and caravans were too far away from the centre itself to be of any benefit.

Planning officers refused the original application for temporary planning permission for five years for the office and caravans retrospectively, stating there was no business case for the equestrian business to support the need for the additional building and that the caravans would set an “undesirable precedent”.

The applicants had told the review body their agent, who had been asked to provide a business case, had “vanished” and they had no knowledge of the request.