East Lothian locals are raising a fighting fund for legal advice amid concerns surrounding a new housing development in Gullane.

As 150 new CALA homes are being built at Saltcoats Field, Gullane, residents are looking for some answers on the development. Planning permission for the project was granted in 2018 to the premium home company, who have property sites all over the country. This permission came with a list of 17 conditions – some of which are mandatory “condition precedents” – to be met ahead of any on site development beginning.

The land was officially handed over to CALA on 1 July 2021, however some locals believe development started earlier than this – possibly breaching planning permission guidelines and not adhering to the condition precedents agreed upon.

A spokesman for CALA Homes (East), said: “We’re aware of the community’s concerns and understand their desire to ensure the correct processes have been followed. We can reassure that both CALA and the previous landowner have complied fully with all regulatory requirements, with work starting on the residential development only once necessary conditions had been purified.”

East Lothian Council have assured campaigners that this is not the case, claiming it was farmer work being carried out to the land rather than the housing development. CALA have backed up this statement, stating: “Work to remove topsoil had been undertaken with the consent of SEPA. East Lothian council were aware of previous complaints from local residents and concluded that the topsoil removal did not constitute development at that time.”

However, the group believe this not to be the case, and claim to have other unanswered questions over the development. This includes the capacity of the local network to cope with sewage from 150 new homes, as worries around the increased discharge of raw sewage surround the community.

Residents have set up a GoFundMe page with a target of £1,800. The group has raised £1,390 in the six days since setting up the fundraiser and plan to spend it on legal advice from a planning and environmental law specialist, to assess whether they have a case against the council.

A CALA spokesperson said: “Now that CALA has commenced construction, we are looking forward to bringing this site forward to complement our recent developments in Gullane – and as a continuation of our substantial investment in East Lothian.”