PRESTONPANS Community Council has been accused of arrogance and overstepping its boundaries by its Cockenzie and Port Seton counterparts after producing proposals for a Port of Prestonpans at the former Cockenzie Power Station site.

The claims were made at a meeting of Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council where the question of the neighbouring groups’ boundaries was raised.

And while some members believed the former power station was built within the Prestonpans area, Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council chairman Graeme Jeffrey said he had been informed by East Lothian Council that it was, in fact, in Cockenzie.

A local authority map showing community council boundaries has the vast majority of the former power station site in the Cockenzie group’s territory.

Prestonpans Community Council unveiled its vision for a cruise port at the former power station site in a brochure it launched last month – and called it the Port of Prestonpans.

It sets out the advantages of bringing cruise ships to the area and potential economic advantages for the communities.

However at Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council’s meeting last Tuesday there was anger when they were asked to give their views on the proposal.

Community councillor Bryan Hickman said: “If we had put a proposal together for their area without any prior consultation we would have been stamped on pretty fast.

“We should respond strongly and say they have no right to put forward a proposal that is outwith their area. In my view it is completely arrogant.”

East Lothian councillor Neil Gilbert pointed out that the port proposal was only an idea and would be one of many put foward as plans for the site, which has been bought by East Lothian Council, move forward.

And he warned people should realise that ideas would come from all over adding: “Anyone in East Lothian is welcome to come forward with ideas but it is probable the money will come from outside of the county because that is where the investment will come from.”

However Shona Brash, a founding member of the now disbanded Coastal Regeneration Alliance (CRA), which battled to stop plans for an energy park on the site, pointed to the masterplan which has been created for East Lothian Council by consultants who looked at public views, as the way forward.

She said: “Surely the best thing for the community is what has been consulted on. I am surprised it is a community council driving this proposal not the communities.

“I am concerned that if we let the idea grow and grow then people will think we do not care and are accepting it.”

Mrs Brash added that the old steering group of the CRA had discussed their position and were “willing to work with the council to have the masterplan adopted” adding “the plan does not include a port”.

Invited to respond to the Cockenzie group’s comments, Brian Weddell, chairman of Prestonpans Community Council, said in a statement that their proposals had been sent to all 19 community councils in East Lothian as well as local businesses, the Chambers of Commerce and elected councillors.

He added: “We have been campaigning for a cruise terminal to replace the power station for several years.

“We were extremely disappointed that the masterplan did not fully investigate the cruise option and the recent Port of Prestonpans Vision consultation document is to inform local people of the significant benefits we believe will accrue with a cruise/ferry port. We want to hear what other communities in East Lothian think of the cruise port option. Whatever replaces the former power station will impact on every community in the county, not just Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton.

“I would encourage everyone with an interest in seeing local jobs and economic investment on the former power station site to seriously consider the potential with a cruise/ferry port and respond to the Prestonpans Community Council ‘Vision of the Port of Prestonpans’.”