Dirleton is a conservation village.
The village was designated as a conservation area in 1969 and the area was extended to include a significant area of surrounding land in 1979.
You can download a copy of the Conservation Area map at Dirleton-Conservation-Area-Map.pdf.
The character of the conservation area is set out in a character statement published by East Lothian Council.
A copy of this statement can be seen here.
Within this and other conservation areas special attention must be paid to development proposals. The extent of development that can be carried out in conservation areas without planning permission is more limited than it is in other areas, and permission can be needed for relatively minor work, such as replacing windows and changing the colour of a building, and for work relating to garages, garden sheds, oil storage tanks, porches, rooflights, walls, and fences.
Along with the Gullane Area Community Council, the Dirleton Village Association regularly monitors planning applications relating to properties in and around the village. It will normally only make representations about applications to East Lothian Council if it is considered that they will adversely affect the character of the village. The Association also monitors the control of development throughout the local authority area under the local development plan
Current Planning Issues
Planning permission and listed building consent were granted in September 2020 for the development of three houses in the Newmains steading area which has been the subject of controversy for the last 18 months or so. This allows for the original stone steading building to be converted into a dwellinghouse, the cottage to the east of it to be extended to form a second dwellinghouse and a third dwellinghouse to be built in the wooded area on the western part of the site and to include the redundant brick built former cow byre forming part of that site. The permission is however subject to conditions still to be met by the developers, relating amongst other things to the cow byre and a landscape plan for the woodland area and the planting of trees on the open area of grassland fenced in to the west of the site. The detailed conditions of the permissions are complicated. The permissions themselves and the planning officer’s reports on which they are based can be accessed through the Council’s planning portal, quoting the reference 19/00895/P for the planning permission and 19/00903/LBC for the listed building consent
In 2019 the owners of the Newmains site blocked up the walking/cycling/horse riding route through the site, although the whole of the route between Ware Road and the John Muir Way to the west has now been officially recognised by the Council and the Scottish Rights of Way Society (Scotways) as a public right of way. The Council have the power to vary public rights of way, subject to certain fairly complex statutory provisions.
The Newmains planning permission provides that, unless otherwise agreed by the Council, no development on the site is to take place unless and until an alternative route for the public right of way round the north of the site, as proposed by the developers, has been formed and made available for use. This route follows the outside of a new fence which the developers have recently erected on the north and west sides of the site, which is hard bottomed and 1.3 metres in width, which may not be sufficiently wide for cyclists and certainly won’t be for riders on horseback. The DVA has engaged with the Council regarding the detailed arrangements for the diversion and the replacement of the public path signs which were removed unlawfully and this is an ongoing issue.
As you may be aware the Council has granted planning permission for the development of a riding centre, including stabling for up to eight horses and a large exercise arena, on part of the field to the west of the lane at the bottom of Manse Road. These facilities are however only to be used in association with the residential use of Auburn House (see below) and at no time for business or commercial purposes. The floodlighting, which was to have served the exercise arena, has not been permitted. The development has not yet been initiated.
As you may also be aware, planning and listed building consent applications were lodged with the Council early in 2020 for the restoration and extension of Auburn House, the old schoolmaster’s house at the foot of the Church Green, and the erection of three holiday houses and garaging on Manse Road, on the site of the former laundry/picture gallery. The applications have since been amended to reduce the number of holiday houses to two. The DVA has submitted extensive comments on these applications and decisions on them are awaited (but see above under Riding centre off Manse Road). The Council’s decisions on the applications are awaited.
A proposal to build two large dwellinghouses on woodland adjacent to the Archerfield East Lodge was submitted to the Council in March 2019 by Caledonian Heritable Ltd, the owners of that woodland area, as part of a complex planning application relating to a number of new facilities at Archerfield Links. The DVA committee and the Community Council submitted objections in respect of the two plots (but not to the other elements within the application). The Council’s decision on the application is still awaited.
Planning permission and listed building consent were granted by the Council in June 2020 for significant upgrading of the Bowling Club clubhouse, situated behind the Castle. The applications had been supported by the DVA committee and the Community Council as providing a valuable leisure facility within the village. Fundraising for the project is currently being explored and there is not yet a timescale for work being put in hand.
Planning permission was granted in September 2019 for a development of 32 houses and 4 flats on the field to the south of Castlemains Place, at the east end of the village. This was obtained on appeal to the Scottish government against refusal by East Lothian Council and against strong opposition on the part of the DVA and the Community Council. It is understood that ownership of the site has changed since the permission was granted. It was a condition of the grant of permission that archaeological investigations be carried out on the site. These have been undertaken but it is not yet known when the development will commence.
East Lothian Housing Association has received planning and conservation area consent for a development of two blocks of flats as affordable housing (4 flats in all) on Castlemains Place, at the east end of the village and adjacent to the new housing development there (see above), to replace the two redundant workshops there. While the DVA committee was supportive of the provision of more affordable housing in the village, it considered that this development would be insensitive and inconsistent with the provisions of the Local Development Plan and the Dirleton conservation area character statement. They objected unsuccessfully to both applications on these grounds.