SCOTTISH Ministers have been asked to give the go-ahead for 300 homes at a controversial farm site after claims East Lothian Council took too long to come to a decision.

Developers Barratt David Wilson (BDW) have lodged an appeal three years after applying for planning permission in principle to build the houses at Goshen Farm, on the eastern edge of Musselburgh.

The proposals came after a previous attempt to gain planning approval for 1,000 homes on a larger part of the site failed.

In an appeal to Scottish Ministers, agents for BDW said several meetings had been held with the local authority’s planners since the application was lodged and a number of amendments to the plans made.

However, they said that despite several extensions to the statutory time allowed for planners to make a decision on a case, time had run out.

And they are now calling on Scottish Ministers to rule on the plans due to a “non-determination” by the council.

In a twist, the appeal lodged last week, has immediately been put on hold after East Lothian Council wrote to the case officer asking for an extended time to prepare its response due to absences.

The local authority has been given an extended deadline into next month to respond.

Arguing the case for the houses to be granted planning permission, agents said that the council’s arguments over a lack of school spaces at the newly built Wallyford Primary School did not stand up to scrutiny and described the local authority’s own housing programme as “overly optimistic”.

They said: ”There is evidence that there is a significant shortfall in the housing land supply in both East Lothian and the SESplan Single Housing Market Area.

“The proposed development would help remedy these shortfalls and immediately contribute to the effective housing land supply.

“There are also issues with the delivery of East Lothian Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) allocations and in the Musselburgh cluster in particular.  The council’s housing programming has been shown to be overly optimistic, and cannot be relied upon to address housing need and demand.”

East Lothian Council’s LDP has highlighted Musselburgh and its surrounding area for a large part of housing growth in the county; however, efforts to build at Goshen sparked protests, with Hands Off Goshen Greenbelt launched on social media.

The revised plans to build just 300 homes on 30 acres of the agricultural land, rather than the initial 1,20- house site across 120 acres, failed to win community support when put before them for consultation three years ago.

Prestonpans Community Council, whose boundary lies on the edge of the land, heard from land owners Ashfield Land that there were “no guarantees” more housing would not be built in the site in the future.

And Musselburgh and Inversek Community Council also failed to back the proposals.

The appeal will now be allocated to a Reporter.