THE developers behind a major expansion of an East Lothian village have appealed to Scottish Ministers after they were refused permission to build up to 150 homes on land earmarked for a public park.

The planning application from East Lothian Developments Ltd (ELDL), which has overseen plans to develop land on the outskirts of Wallyford, was described by them as the "final phase" of the site where more than 2,000 homes have already been built.

But when it was put before East Lothian Council’s planning committee in March, councillors said it was "too much" and demanded that the land, which was initially set out as open space, should remain clear.

Now ELDL has appealed, insisting that planners did not take into account the amount of green space available across the site as a whole and that the additional housing plan would include a public park in it.

In their appeal statement, they said: “The proposed development would provide new attractive, useable open space and an equipped play area, which is located prominently at the front of the site, easily accessed from surrounding existing homes. This will enhance opportunities for recreation.”

At the council’s planning meeting in March, the developers claimed that leaving the site of the proposed housing unused could lead to it becoming “unloved” and attracting motorbike use at weekends.

However, councillors rejected their claims, with a number of committee members who were involved in the original masterplan for the site 15 years ago recalling that it had promised the new community a large public park on the land.

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Ward councillor Colin McGinn said that he was concerned by the proposal, saying: “One of the things constituents bring to me is the need for open space to play or walk, or just be in an area not overtaken by housing. I feel this is pushing it too far.”

And fellow ward member Councillor Andy Forrest said: “It will be too much icing on the cake and will spoil it.”

Original plans for the overall site included proposals for just over 1,000 homes but that figure has more than doubled as revised applications were submitted and approved over the years.

Councillors praised the work carried out on the larger development by ELDL working with the community and local authority over the years.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, planning convenor, said that he remembered when the original masterplan was drawn up, including the public park on the site.

He said: “The ELDL original proposal to create a public park was the right proposals and the proposal with 150 houses is just wrong.”

Councillors unanimously backed officers' recommendations to refuse planning permission for additional houses on the site.

The Scottish Government Reporter is now considering the appeal by ELDL.