DEVELOPERS of a new town in East Lothian have asked the local authority to delay its demand for road improvements until after the first 235 homes’ families have moved in.

Hargreaves Services Ltd, which is developing the new Blindwells settlement, has asked planners to change a condition demanding access roads from the A1 into the new housing are upgraded before any residents move in.

Instead, it says that a new study has shown that up to 235 houses could be occupied before any work is needed to improve the major access routes.

Concern about the impact of the new town, which will be accessed off the Bankton interchange on the A1, have been raised repeatedly by concerned members of the local community as the project progresses.

At a recent virtual public consultation on changes to the new town layout, representatives of the developers heard concerns about the impact of traffic generated by the new town on the road network.

The first residents of Blindwells, which will eventually see an initial population of 1,600, are expected to move in this September.

East Lothian Council’s Local Development Plan includes the initial delivery of Blindwells with a town centre, housing and new primary school.

It also has a larger area of land to the east of the town – which sits between Prestonpans and Tranent – which has been dubbed Greater Blindwells for future expansion.

Current education plans for children and young people moving into Blindwells will see primary-school children bussed to classes at neighbouring Cockenzie Primary School until completion of the new primary school, now due to be delivered on site for school session 2024/25.

Secondary-school pupils will travel to Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans.

Concerns about the travel plans for school pupils, impact of the new town on the existing junctions on and off the A1, and environmental impact were all raised by members of the public during the virtual consultation last month.

East Lothian planners initially approved the building of the first phase of houses with a condition which requires upgrades to the Bankton interchange, including traffic control signals at the roundabouts and additional upgrades to the slip roads.

However, in an application to be heard by East Lothian Council’s planning committee next week, Hargreaves argues that a transport survey carried out for it shows that the initial 235 houses will have no “material impact” – a claim it says is accepted by Transport Scotland and the council.

Hargreaves asks the committee to amend the condition to state that the upgrade work only needs to be carried out “prior to the occupation of the 236th residential unit hereby approved”.

It currently states that the work must be carried out “prior to the occupation of any of the approved development”.

The report to committee from planning officers recommends the change to the condition is approved.