A recent edition of the Courier had an excellent letter highlighting how all our East Lothian towns, set in the context of the surrounding Lammermuir Hills, are quickly becoming indistinguishable from anywhere else in the continuum of ‘Noddy-land’ developer housing.

Sadly, with this ‘closing in’ of the place or setting from countryside, there comes no debate about ‘biodiversity compensation’, or more simply put, the ‘green trade-off’ that developers should be asked to supply in return for consuming these unique locations.

Following the vast yield and supply of food for the Second World War effort, East Lothian was often referred to as the Garden County.

Few people will know the majority of the land between Port Seton and Dunbar is designated as prime Class 1 agricultural soil, found on less than three per cent of Scotland’s landmass. This is an irreplaceable resource.

These ‘raised beach’ sedimentary soils took geological time to develop into farming soils.

The onslaught of characterless housing developments, lacking identity, do not appear to differ from those on urban gap sites.

Nor do they seem to offer or give back anything extra in terms of ‘green’ legacy to justify this sacrifice; shelterbelts, ponds, small forests, hedgerows or general volume of landscaping are almost absent.

There seems to be a sole objective: pack them in for maximum profit. Impose the urban on the rural without protest.

The agenda for this massive expansion in housing was formulated and set way back in the SESplan Strategic Plan of 2016 and so the number and volume is being totally dictated by central government.

The prospect of input and comment by concerned community groups, to influence decisions on these engulfing developments, is zero, along with the demise of the idea of public participation in planning in general; even the local authority struggle to be heard, and the Scottish Reporter now overrules the vast majority of objections.

It is only now that our local council has appointed an official with the title of director of place.

It seems too little too late, and he certainly has his work cut out to contest and hopefully improve on the carpet-bombing developments we have seen to date.

Planning democracy seems to be a near-imperceptible draft against a whirlwind, that we should lie down and accept the changing environment in the name of progress.

David Barrett