DEVELOPERS face an angry backlash from local residents after asking Scottish Ministers to help them push ahead with a controversial new housing plan.

Barratt David Wilson (BDW) and Ashfield Commercial Properties  have appealed to Scottish Ministers to rule on their plans to build 300 homes at Goshen Farm, on the eastern edge of Musselburgh, after claiming East Lothian Council had taken too long to make a decision.

The move has led to warnings that people in the town will not forgive the developers if they win approval by going around the local authority after public consultations saw objections lodged by locals.

Councillor Andy Forrest, ward member for the town, said people made it clear they did not want the site developed.

He said: “People do not want it, it is not a welcome development and during public consultations they made their views very clear.

“If they build these houses on this site it will close the circle around Musselburgh and take away vital green space.”

Fellow ward member Councillor Stuart Currie called for the appeal to be thrown out.

He said: “I have said from the outset that this is the wrong development in the wrong place.

“Our green space in East Lothian is under attack and we must do all we can to defend it.

“I would have wanted the application to be determined in East Lothian. However, this appeal should be thrown out and a message delivered that our green space must be protected and we cannot tarmac over our landscape.”

Councillor Katie Mackie, also a Musselburgh ward member, said: “This application for 300 more homes in the western end of East Lothian is a step too far.

"We already have serious problems in Musselburgh around access to health facilities and the local road network is at breaking point.

"We will not solve these problems by allowing even more houses to be built.”

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 called on Scottish Ministers to rule on the plans due to a “non-determination” by the council.

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.”

Prestonpans Community Council, whose boundary lies on the edge of the land, previously 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.