Derelict former factory targeted by fire-raisers
A derelict building facing an uncertain future has become a target for fire-raising after crews were called to the site three times in the space of two weeks.
The now empty premises of the IQ Textiles (formerly Lothian Coated Fabrics) has attracted vandalism in the past, as its owenrs wait to hear the outcome a controversial planning application.
The first in the latest string of incidents took place late in the evening of Wednesday July 18 when crews from Musselburgh and Tranent were forced to request back-up as they battled the blaze about 23.44. They were joined by crews from Newcraighall and Marionville and tackled the fire with high pressure hoses and breathing apparatus, remaining on the scene until 00.22.
Just three days later crews were called again to the same building, where another fire had broke out, this time at 8.37pm on Sunday.
Crews from Musselburgh and Tranent attended again, using high pressure hose rails and breathing apparatus to fight the blaze.
Then on Sunday night crews were called to the building for a third time at around 20.50 hours on Sunday evening, and used buckets of water to put out the fire.
A spokesperson for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said in all three fires rubbish alight within the building was believed to be the cause.
Community council chairman Jim Yule said he and other councillors had raised the issue of break-ins at the Lothian Coated Fabrics Building and the Old Ford Bakery building earlier in the year.
He explained "Kids were breaking into the building about three months ago and it was concerning some residents living round about. Police have been patrolling the area and they've been very aware of it but people go away for a while and come back.
The site became vacant after Allied Textiles, which took over Lothian Coated Fabrics, announced its closure in 2010. In October of last year the Holder Planning made a presentation to the community council on a planning proposal to turn the site into a supermarket but members had raised concerns over how it would affect access and the toll it may take on the town's High Street.
Mr Yule added: "The last thing we need is another superstore. I'd like to see it used as an industrial unit. It would bring more work into Prestonpans."
However Robin Holder, who is acting as the planning agent for the building's owners, Bankhead Land Ltd, has warned returning the premises to industrial use was 'never going to happen'.
He said: "The proposal is to create a small to medium size supermarket, creating around 60 jobs. We have done a viability assessment and we know it is not economically viable to return the current building to industrial use or replace them with new buildings. It is too expensive. There is a shopping gap in Prestonpans and I expect many people would support this sort of proposal. You can allocate it for industrial land but it will never happen."
Despite receiving no objections Mr Holder said he understood the proposal was unlikely to be recommended for approval by council officers due to concerns over keeping the site for industrial use and because the preferred location for such a store would be in the town centre, potentially at the now vacant former Haldanes premises.
However he said: "My clients have written to all councillors asking that if this goes onto a delegated list they will consider calling it up before a planning meetings.
"I feel it is important enough issue for the elected members for Prestonpans and for East Lothian Council to consider."
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 01 Aug 12
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Salt town resident
Aug 9, 18:46
I am a disabled housewife I think I would be great having a local supermarket just put a mini round about and a traffic light crossing for people crossing the road and a 20 mile speed restriction from gardeners road as it badly needs it on that road there is a lot more people moving to that. Area now so a new supermarket would be viable I think and create jobs and stop vandals at last.
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