A TORY councillor in London whose housing brief includes the Grenfell Tower is behind controversial plans to build a village in East Lothian.

Rock Feilding-Mellen, who has helped lead the embattled Kensington and Chelsea council’s response to the disaster, wants to construct 450 houses in Longniddry. However, a campaign group opposed to the development hit out at the profits they claimed would be made from the scheme.

The Tory-run council is facing serious questions after a blaze destroyed 151 homes in the Grenfell tower block and killed at least 79 people. Experts believe that the cladding on the high-rise, which contained plastic, may have led to the fire getting out of hand.

Nicholas Holgate resigned as council chief executive amid criticism of the borough's handling of the disaster.

Fielding-Mellen, who is the deputy leader on the local authority and Cabinet member for housing, property and regeneration, is still in post. He told the BBC it could take up to two years to rehouse the victims.

However, he is also caught up in a row north of the border. According to his register of interest the son of the Countess of Wemyss and March has directorships in firms including SCC Longniddry Ltd and Socially Conscious Capital Ltd.

Through the latter firm, which he he owns, a planning application was lodged for around 450 houses around Longniddry Farm on land owned by the Wemyss and March Estate.

Socially Conscious Capital, described as a “family-controlled development business” that is committed to the principles of “sustainable urbanism”, has just £2,368 in capital and reserves. After the planning application was lodged, Fielding-Mellen – whose full name is Rock Basil Hugo Feilding-Mellen – said: "In addition to the much-needed new housing, we wanted to make sure that there will also be tangible benefits for the existing residents of Longniddry, such as employment opportunities and community facilities, and that these are fully integrated with the existing village."

However, the application has triggered a backlash amongst some locals who are sceptical of the scheme.

A spokesperson for Listen to Longniddry, a group that was formed to campaign against the proposals, said: “As we see it, the only thing that will be sustained in this ‘sustainable urbanist’ development is the rate of profit to Socially Conscious Capital, the property development arm of the Wemyss and March Estate.

“If this application is approved it will lead to permanent loss of Grade 2 agricultural land. It is incomprehensible to us how the enthusiastic obliteration of this excellent arable land and the biodiversity it supports – and its replacement with concrete – could ever be seen as 'sustainable'."

The group added: “The loud noise made by Socially Conscious Capital about ‘much-needed new housing’ is, as we see it, hot air. The vast majority of housing in this proposed development in Longniddry will not address genuine housing need as it will not be truly affordable.”

Local sources believe the application may stand a fair chance of success as the site in question is part of the East Lothian Development Plan.

Dominic Lawson, of Socially Conscious Capital, responded: “The site occupies a mere 0.015 per cent of the arable land in East Lothian and biodiversity will be enhanced through a network of restored water courses, green spaces and wildlife corridors.

“Unlike most other villages/towns in East Lothian, Longniddry has seen no development over last 30 years, and yet this site provides one of East Lothian's most sustainable development locations given its existing train service, public transport, and community infrastructure."

He added: “Out of the proposed 450 homes, 25 per cent, 112 will be delivered as affordable housing in association with one or more registered social landlords, delivered in line with the council’s affordable housing requirement."

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council, which has a minority Labour administration, said an application for "planning permission in principle" had been made in June 2016, adding: "No decision has yet been reached as detailed reports are still be compiled for this.”