A 99-YEAR-OLD building in Musselburgh will be demolished after plans to build flats on the site were granted by councillors.

At East Lothian Council"s planning committee meeting on Tuesday, consent was granted to erect 17 flats on the site of the Jooglie Brig Public House on Monktonhall Terrace.

Brian Stalker, planning development manager for East Lothian Council, said there had been little public opposition to the planning application by pub owner Alan Shiels.

'The area is not a conservation area and Historic Scotland said that it doesn"t meet standards of buildings of archaeological or historical interest,' he added.

The pub - a detached two-storey red sandstone building - has been owned by Mr Shiels since 1993 and members of the planning committee heard that the pub was no longer economically sustainable.

David Bell, director of Fouin and Bell Architects, agent for Mr Shiels, said: 'Little of the inside is original as most of the original features have been removed.' Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council members voiced their concern that the proposed building would be too tall and would lead to a loss of amenity in the area.

Other objections said that there would be an increase in traffic and, in the current economic climate, there may not be a demand for flats.

Representatives from Musselburgh Conservation Society attended the meeting and stated their objection to the demolition of the building.

Society member Stephen Edwards said: 'We see no reason why this fine building should be demolished because it"s not listed or in a conservation area - although it"s not considered by Historic Scotland as important it is important to Musselburgh.' Councillor John McNeil, ward member for Musselburgh West, said the building was 'worth saving for East Lothian' and Councillor John Williamson, also Musselburgh West, suggested the pub could have turned into a small hotel and run as a pub.

'I would like to see the building retained but the situation is that we could reject the application but the building could be demolished tomorrow,' he added.

The plans include the erection of a three-storey building with nine two-bedroom flats, and a two-and-a-half-storey building with six two-bedroom and two one-bedroom flats.

Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, ward member for Haddington and Lammermuir, said: 'We have heard that its business has declined; we can"t force it to stay open. We"re a planning committee, not a preservation body.' Councillor David Berry, council leader, told the meeting that he did not think the community would benefit from the new flats.

When voting, eight councillors voted for the application, five voted against, and Councillor Williamson abstained.

Permission was granted under the condition that the development would begin within five years.