THIS final week before being dissolved for May’s election was a busy one for East Lothian Council.

As well as a full council to discuss, among other things, the new local plan, there was the second day on which the planning committee considered eight applications – involving no fewer than 2,000 new houses. This is a record.

By far the largest proposal was for 1,600 new homes at Blindwells, a new settlement that is to stretch east from Meadowmill between the A1 and the railway. As a new town, it is to have its own shops, school and infrastructure.

This idea has been around for a decade. But in all that time, it has not been recognised as the economic catalyst it could have been.

Unlike the swathes of new homes across the county, this offers a unique opportunity to build an entirely new vibrant economic hub to transform the west of our county. Blindwells could leverage an urban centre out of council land at St Joseph’s and at Meadowmill. Transformed into a retail park and business complex, this could outmatch The Gyle by offering superb access to both the A1 and East Coast Main Line.

As the heart of a bustling settlement of 30,000, Tranent, Prestonpans and Cockenzie would form three leaves of a four-leaf clover, Blindwells being the fourth. A masterplan would revitalise the local economy, reverse commuting and compete strongly for retail turnover and jobs.

That’s only the beginning. Imagine Prestonpans station moved onto passing loops so it became a parkway station for long-distance trains. Imagine if Cockenzie rail sidings accessed a liner/ferry terminal, with a pier reaching into deep water. Edinburgh desperately needs such a facility.

Would that not lead to boating, a marina, fresh fish restaurants along the coast, accessed by a shore-side bike/walkway from Seton Sands to Musselburgh Lagoons?

All this would become a tourist magnet, being less than 15 minutes from Waverley by train. We could even revive the old Waggonway as light rail, connecting liners with the new station, the battlefield and the new urban centre. Add in offshore wind turbine production using the new pier for marine access and we’d have an economy to rival West Lothian without despoiling the quality of life in the other 90 per cent of the county.

But these possibilities of Blindwells being the lever to create this ‘Seton New Town’ fall on deaf ears in the present administration. Whether a new one in May will display the vision necessary remains to be seen.