East Lothian

Keys handed over to Out-Patients Department in East Lothian

The wait is almost over for the East Lothian Community Hospital as the project takes another major step forward this week.

The keys to the freshly completed Out-Patients Department were given to NHS Lothian on February 23 and will open to patients from March 12.

David Small, chief officer, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This is an exciting time for the communities of East Lothian and it marks a significant development in delivering a joined-up health and social care service through the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership.

“The new facilities will see an increase in gastroenterology, orthopaedics, urology, ear, nose and throat, in East Lothian and is introducing new services such as plastics and phototherapy. Having been shaped with the help of our patients, this project will allow our staff to continue to give safe, effective healthcare and rehabilitation.

“Throughout the extensive planning process we listened to what mattered most to people and with the invaluable input from the community, patients and their families, third sector organisations and staff we will have we can be proud of.”

The new Out-Patients Department is the first stage of a £70 million programme of works that will see a modern and purpose-built hospital developed on the existing Roodlands site in Haddington. The full programme is anticipated to be complete by early 2020.

The redevelopment of the hospital site is being undertaken in partnership with hub South East Scotland Ltd, with Morrison Construction appointed as the main contractor.

Jo Elliot, hub South East’s chair, said: “Hub South East helped drive plans for this redevelopment, so it’s fantastic to be here today as we handover the keys to the new Out-Patients Department, knowing that patients and staff will soon benefit from these modern fit-for-purpose facilities.

“The East Lothian Community Hospital is our largest project to begin construction, and the biggest Hub deal signed to date in Scotland. It’s encouraging to see it progressing on time and on budget, and we look forward to successfully delivering future phases in partnership with NHS Lothian.”

Morrison Construction operation’s director, David Wilson, said: “I am happy to be here today as we celebrate an important milestone for this much-anticipated community healthcare facility and hand over the keys to the Out-Patient’s department.

“Work on site continues to progress well with the steel frame for the next phase currently being erected for the inpatient departments and the rest of the hospital accommodation. The demolition of the old outpatient’s department will begin soon after hospital staff have relocated.”

Care home plan for Musselburgh’s Quay Complex

A planning application has been submitted to East Lothian Council to convert the Quay Complex in Musselburgh into a 40-bedroom luxury care home.

Owned by entrepreneur Charan Gill, the Quay is located five miles from the centre of Edinburgh on the A1 at the picturesque harbour of Fisherrow, overlooking the Firth of Forth.

The Quay currently operates as a venue for weddings and events with a restaurant and fitness spa, though business has suffered a sharp decline over recent years. Mr Gill has confirmed that a deal has been struck with care home developer Simply UK, which plans to invest £5 million into the conversion project once the application has been approved.

Gill confirmed that trading at the Quay Complex has been challenging over recent years, especially after the opening of numerous restaurants at The Fort.

Charan Gill

He said: “Over the past year we have had to reduce staffing levels and opening hours and meeting rising overheads has been a struggle. Our research has shown that there is an over-supply of restaurants and bars in the area. There is also a Pure Gym opening at The Fort and this would have led to The Quay eventually closing with the loss of many jobs.

“Our research has shown that there is a shortage of compliant care home beds in the area and this conversion will fulfil a much-needed service, while creating some 40 jobs that are much needed in the area.

“The Quay is situated on the harbour and I believe that the calming views across the Firth of Forth make it an excellent location for a care home facility.”

Simply UK executive, Christopher O’Brien, added: “We are very excited about this project which we are confident will provide a much-needed valuable asset to the local community in Musselburgh.”

East Lothian Council unveils £220m housing and schools investment package

A significant package of capital investment in council housing and schools totalling more than £220 million is set to be delivered by East Lothian Council over the next five years.

Almost £93m will be spent on new affordable council housing in addition to almost £60m on the modernisation of existing properties.

New homes are expected to be completed at Haddington and Dunbar during 2018/19 with further developments planned for Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Aberlady, Gullane, Ormiston, Musselburgh and Haddington.

The purchase of some homes for sale on the open market will also continue.

Meanwhile, there will be a rolling programme of improvements to existing council houses. This includes refurbishments of bathrooms, kitchens and roofing and the installation of energy efficiency measures – in an effort to help reduce fuel poverty.

Jim Goodfellow, cabinet spokesperson for housing, said: “I’m very proud of the council’s record on housing. In the last five years, we have delivered 370 new council houses and increased expenditure on modernisation.

“With East Lothian being a fantastic place to live, it’s vital that we build on this track record and continue to invest in housing to meet the demands of our communities.

“East Lothian Council tenants already benefit from one of the lowest average weekly rents in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that, in the next year, a number of new council homes are expected to be completed – providing high-quality accommodation for families and individuals. This is part of a significant £93m investment in new council housing over the next five years, which will see the construction of homes throughout the county.

“With further developments planned, this is excellent news for those seeking a council house and also for the economy, as it will require the involvement of firms including the construction industry.

“At the same time, we are committed to improving our existing housing stock, and will be investing almost £60m in the modernisation of council homes throughout the county. This includes an increased focus on energy efficiency measures – helping to make tenants’ homes warmer and cheaper to heat, helping to reduce fuel poverty.”

Projects in the £227m package of investment in new, improved or expanded schools include:

  • Around £7.9m for the extension of North Berwick High School
  • Around £8.8m for the extension of Ross High School, Tranent
  • £34m for an additional secondary school to serve the Musselburgh area
  • Around £500,000 for a facilities upgrade at the existing Musselburgh Grammar School
  • Around £8.8m for the Letham Mains Primary School, Haddington
  • Around £8.6m for the new Blindwells Primary School
  • Around £5.2m for an extension at Whitecraig Primary School
  • Around £3.3m for the extension of Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School and Early learning and Childcare Centre

Spending has been earmarked for extensions at Dunbar, East Linton, Aberlady, Gullane. Elphinstone, Prestonpans Infants and Pencaitland Primary Schools and Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans.

There are also resources for ongoing extensions at Dunbar Grammar, Law Primary School and the construction of a new Wallyford Primary School, which are well underway.

There is £300,000 for additional space at the Meadowpark Communications Provision, Knox Academy, Haddington. In addition, the council’s revenue budget allocates £225,000 of revenue expenditure between 2019-21 associated with Meadowpark.

Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education, added: “I’m delighted that the council will be delivering such a significant investment in new, improved or expanded schools across East Lothian. This will benefit thousands of children, while helping us to meet demand for school paces in growing communities.

“Our schools have a hugely significant role to play in helping to give children the best possible start in life. A high-quality learning environment is key to this.”

The investment figures in the budget reflect the total five-year capital value of the projects and developer contributions are sought where appropriate towards development costs.

Cruden Homes starts on two new East Lothian developments

A view of the new Abbey Gardens development at Old Craighall

Housebuilder Cruden Homes has commenced construction at two new developments in East Lothian.

Abbey Gardens at Old Craighall near Musselburgh will comprise 32 properties for sale, in a mix of four-bedroom semi-detached and detached family homes and two-bedroom cottage flats along with 12 affordable homes in a mix of one and two-bedroom cottage flats. All the property styles have been designed exclusively for the location.

Heading east along the coast to Aberlady, Cruden Homes has also commenced construction at Meadowside, a new residential development located to the west of the village.

Cruden’s Meadowside development at Aberlady

Meadowside will comprise 81 properties for sale in a mix of three, four and five-bedroom homes along with 26 affordable homes in a mix of one and two- bedroom cottage flats and two and three-bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses, again all designed exclusively for the location, with open green space and linkages to the existing village and beyond.

A new junction through the site to connect Kirk Road with the A198 will minimise the disruption to protected trees located along the roadside boundary, which are an important part of the character of the coastal route and the western approach to Aberlady.

Hazel Davies, sales and marketing director of Cruden Homes, said: “Cruden Homes has a long and established history in East Lothian and we are absolutely delighted to be now underway at two new developments in this hugely popular location. East Lothian is not only a great place to visit, it’s a great place to live and work and we are in no doubt both our new developments at Old Craighall and Aberlady will be very popular with homebuyers.”

CALA submits plans for new homes in Inverurie

CALA Homes (North) has submitted a planning application for a proposed residential development in Inverurie.

Located in the Conglass area, on Crawford Road, the development would see the creation of 57 homes comprising four and five-bedroom detached houses as well as an allocation of affordable properties.

The application follows the housebuilder’s previously submitted plans for a development in nearby Oldmeldrum.

Mike Naysmith, managing director of CALA Homes (North), said: “We are pleased to progress with plans for this luxury pocket of family homes in Inverurie.

“It has been many years since we last built homes in the town but we have been very keen to return and invest in the right developments in the area, so we are particularly pleased to have plans for this site at Conglass and also in nearby Oldmeldrum.

“Our proposal has been carefully considered to ensure the new neighbourhood will complement the existing surroundings.

“We look forward to releasing more details of our exciting plans for Conglass as they move forward.”

Meanwhile CALA has launched its latest development of new homes on the former grounds of the Scottish Fire Service College in Gullane.

Careful renovation is ensuring that the coastal village’s iconic Henderson House is restored to its former glory and transformed into apartments.

The renowned and much loved building was formerly The Marine Hotel before becoming the college and eventually mothballed following Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s relocation to Cumbernauld.

Work is currently being finalised on two townhouse showhomes due to launch in April, with a show apartment expected to be ready by early summer. A refurbished apartment in Henderson House will join the roster of showhomes around August.

In total, CALA is bringing to market 125 homes, including the Henderson House apartments, mews, terraced and semi-detached housing.

Philip Hogg, sales and marketing director with CALA Homes (East), said: “Gullane is an ideal area for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city living, while maintaining easy access to the capital.

“As well as opening the door to new families in Gullane, our homes will provide a much needed option for downsizers, commuters and holiday makers alike.

“From the development’s name, inspired by Henderson House’s previous life as The Marine Hotel, to red stone features and natural timber touches, every detail of the new development has been carefully designed to reflect the area’s heritage.

“The site has been left unused for years so we’re excited to put the valuable space back to good use and our new homes will create a village feel and a new neighbourhood, with plenty of green space for the whole community to enjoy.”

New developer introduced at Haddington housing development

Gerry More

A residential development in Haddington that includes a new primary school is making considerable progress with the introduction of a second developer.

Included in recent milestones at the Letham Mains site, CALA Homes (East) is looking to split its previously approved original share of 376 homes, with Stewart Milne Homes now seeking to take on 155 homes.

Despite not altering the total number of homes, the like-for-like substitution of plots between the two developers requires fresh planning approval, due to variations in home styles and small on-site design changes, with proposals by Stewart Milne Homes recently submitted.

Derek Lawson, strategic land director with CALA Homes (East), said: “We’re pleased to be able to work with Stewart Milne Homes to enable them to take over half of our original site.

“This ensures our team can focus on delivering high-quality homes, while facilitating the new purpose-built primary school.”

CALA is on schedule to commence construction on its remaining share of the homes in January 2018, with Stewart Milne Homes anticipating starting in the summer, subject to planning outcomes.

Managing director of Stewart Milne Homes Central, Gerry More, added: “We are seeing strong demand for quality family homes across Central Scotland and, by increasing the number of active developments, through collaborative working with other homebuilders, we’re in a firm position to cater to this demand.

“Subject to planning approval, we are looking to create an attractive neighbourhood of 155 homes at Haddington. With attention to detail in both the craftsmanship of our homes and in the design of the settings, streets and green space, we will deliver a distinctive and desirable place to live which, with the plans for the new primary school, will be ideal for families.”

Meaningful progress has also been made at the development following a major earthwork project to prepare the site. These works include spine road infrastructure, regrading of levels, delivery of services and will include off-site works on West Road.

Likewise, the CALA Homes-led programme to deliver the serviced school site is on track for early summer 2018 when it will hand over to the local authority.

Derek Lawson added: “Letham Mains is a major project for us and a very important element of East Lothian Council’s release of housing across the region.

“We are delighted to now have the housebuild start date very much in sight and will begin to provide a welcome boost to house hunters offering high-quality premium product from our new Light and Space range.”

Planning approval for 680 homes in Edinburgh and East Lothian


The new homes proposed for Baileyfield South

Two new housing developments in East Lothian and the East of Edinburgh have now received planning approval, in a move set to help address local housing shortages.

The Barratt Homes’ developments, located in Portobello, Edinburgh and Wallyford, near Musselburgh in East Lothian, will provide an additional 680 homes in total.

Another view of the Baileyfield development

Another view of the Baileyfield development

Approvals of the new sites will result in a mix of two, three and four bedroom homes and apartments in Wallyford and one, two and three bedroom apartments, colonies, townhouses and terraced homes at Portobello.

The 245 homes set to be built in Wallyford will result in the creation of 368 direct and 1,103 indirect jobs in the area.

Baileyfield viewed from above

Baileyfield viewed from above

At Portobello, Barratt Homes will be building 435 new homes at Baileyfield South. Previously used for commercial purposes, the mix of property type at the site is designed to complement the builder’s nearby existing development, Barratt @ Portobello.

The new development will result in the creation of 665 direct and 2,000 indirect jobs during the site’s construction.

An aerial view of the Wallyford site

An aerial view of the Wallyford site

Mansoor Ali, development director for Barratt Homes East Scotland, said: “Edinburgh East and East Lothian are both extremely popular residential locations and these developments will meet the needs of a wide range of house hunters ranging from first time buyers to families.

“Our latest planning approvals in East Lothian and Edinburgh are good news and we will see building begin later in 2018.”

Report outlines vision of potential employment zone and energy quarter at Cockenzie Power Station site


The Cockenzie Power Station during its demolition in 2015

A potential vision of a mixed-use development of the former Cockenzie Power Station site including an employment zone, an area for a potential energy quarter and an improved harbour setting has been revealed in a new report.

Produced by consultants Peter Brett Associates following its appointment by East Lothian Council, the Cockenzie Masterplan Report sets out the findings from the master planning process for the site.

The document is being made available following Scottish Power’s recent announcement that East Lothian Council is preferred bidder to purchase the site.

The document does not represent any agreed council policy or settled outcome for the future of the site. Instead it serves as a basis for further reflection, discussion and engagement between key stakeholders.

The consultants were tasked with producing a visionary document setting out potential future land uses for the site. A series of interactive community drop-in sessions were held in Cockenzie, Port Seton and Prestonpans – attended by more than 200 people. All views expressed were considered carefully and no suggestion was considered off limits. Meetings were also held with local and national stakeholders.

Cockenzie_illustrative_masterplanThe document acknowledges that the former power station is a key site for local communities and the wider East Lothian economy. The report sets out a possible vision of a mixed-use site including an employment zone, multi-purpose open space, landscaped areas with paths, an area for a potential energy quarter and an improved harbour setting with further employment space and infrastructure improvements.

There are a number of factors and considerations which would need to be taken into account before a masterplan report could inform local planning policy. For example, a formal statutory process – including prescribed periods of consultation – would be necessary.

The council is keen to understand the direction of future national planning policy set by Scottish Ministers, with the National Planning Framework due for review in 2019. It would also be necessary for the council to carry out technical work, including a Strategic Environmental Assessment on whatever ultimately is agreed upon for the site in planning policy terms.

In the meantime, the masterplan report will serve as a basis for further reflection, discussion and engagement between the council and key stakeholders.

Depute council leader, Norman Hampshire, said: “I welcome publication of the report produced by Peter Brett Associates. The council has long recognised that the former Cockenzie Power Station site presents a key strategic economic development opportunity for East Lothian. While the power station’s demolition stirred up a mix of emotions among local people and there are different opinions on future use of the site, most agree that this is a hugely important issue for local residents and an exciting opportunity for East Lothian as a whole. We are therefore determined to secure a positive future in the best interests of local communities and our economy. That’s why the council and our partners on the Cockenzie Community Forum brought in external consultants to carry out a wide consultation exercise and prepare this masterplan report.

“I’d like to thank everyone who attended one of the events which were held – the feedback received was invaluable and has helped get to this stage. There remains a huge amount of work to do. For example, we need to understand whether there are any implications for the site as a result of any revisions to national planning policy. Crucially, we also need to secure formal purchase of the site, following the recent news that East Lothian Council is ScottishPower’s preferred bidder.

“While these matters are very complex the council is focused on making progress as quickly as possible. In the meantime, local residents and interested stakeholders have a chance to review the report and the council looks forward to gathering their reflections.”

The report can be viewed on the council website.

East Lothian Council rejects national marine centre proposals

© Simpson & Brown Architects

© Simpson & Brown Architects

Plans to transform the Scottish Seabird Centre’s existing premises into a new national marine centre have been rejected by East Lothian Council on the grounds that the project would have a detrimental impact on the local area.

The £6.2 million scheme would have expanded the existing site in North Berwick to provide a hub for marine education and included a new visitor centre for school groups and an observatory enabling a 360-degree view of the landscape.

Designs by Simpson & Brown Architects were previously revised to accommodate feedback from the community, staff and volunteers, supporters as well as council officers.

The height of the planned observatory was reduced by 1.6 metres, while alterations were made to the design of the marine centre’s roof and the brickwork used was also changed so it is more in keeping with its surroundings.

© Simpson & Brown Architects

© Simpson & Brown Architects

However the £5.5 million plan was rejected by councillors this week due to adverse visual impacts on the historic settings of North Berwick.

Council papers said 353 people had raised objections to the new centre, while 215 had said they were in support of it.

A report to the planning committee said: “The economic benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the significant detrimental visual impact that the proposed development would have on the character of the North Berwick conservation area.”

Scottish Seabird Centre chief executive, Tom Brock, said: “It has taken many years to get to this stage and to receive a refusal from the planning committee is very disappointing.

“However, we have been greatly encouraged by the widespread support for the concept of a national marine centre that aims to inform and inspire people about Scotland’s amazing marine wildlife and highlights the need to look after it for future generations.

“We will take on board recommendations and we are reviewing plans to identify the best way forward.”

Council named preferred bidder for Cockenzie Power Station site

The power station was demolished in 2015

The power station was demolished in 2015

The former Cockenzie Power Station site is to be sold to East Lothian Council meaning the regeneration of the land can now progress.

ScottishPower announced that the local authority is the preferred bidder to purchase the site, which was demolished in 2015.

It will now develop the area in line with an economic ‘masterplan’, hopefully brining jobs and regeneration.

Depute council leader Norman Hampshire said: “East Lothian Council believes that the former Cockenzie Power Station site presents an important opportunity for economic development and to meet the aspirations of local communities.

“News that we are ScottishPower’s preferred bidder is a positive step forward, although there remains work to do in order to confirm an agreement which enables the council to formally purchase the site. We are looking to progress this as quickly as possible and will provide further details in due course.

“We recognise the significance of the site and will ensure local communities continue to be involved and engaged.”

A ScottishPower spokesperson said: “The process to determine the future of the power station site has involved a wide range of detailed discussions. We can confirm that East Lothian council is the preferred bidder, and further talks will now take place to confirm the details of the sale. We will work closely with the council to conclude these discussions as quickly as possible. ScottishPower has been part of the local community for over 50 years, and we have been working hard since Cockenzie closed to ensure the best outcome for the site.”