SCOTTISH Ministers are to be urged to refuse planning permission for an electrical substation on the former Cockenzie Power Station site because it could prejudice future development there.

East Lothian Council will submit its formal objection to the proposals to a Scottish Government reporter after officials were given the unanimous support of elected councillors at a meeting of the local authority on Tuesday.

A planning application for the substation by Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL) was called in by Scottish Ministers in a controversial move in April and will now be decided by the reporter instead of the council.

ICOL wants to bring offshore energy from a planned windfarm off the Angus coast onto land at Cockenzie by building the substation on the footprint of the former power station.

A previous planning application siting the substation further inland had been given planning permission but that permission lapsed; instead of renewing it, ICOL decided to pursue a new site.

In its argument to Scottish Ministers, the council will state that the substation is “not the best use of the land” and point out that planning permission had been given at another site.

Councillor Norman Hampshire said: “Because of the location, we have to recommend it should be refused. We have done a lot of work to move this proposal forward and this action jeopardises that.

“I think if everybody had worked together we could have got a development on a site the council, developers and communities could have supported.”

Earlier this month, representatives of ICOL were challenged by Prestonpans Community Council to name any independent party that support the planned location of the substation.

Brian Weddell, community council chairman, told the ICOL representatives that there had been no public consultation about the new site.

He said: “We are against it, Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council are against it, East Lothian Council and Scottish Natural Heritage are against it.

Show us anyone, apart from Inch Cape, who think it is a good site.”

Ian Johnson, ICOL project manager, said: “We are naturally disappointed that East Lothian Council officers have recommended refusal to the application on the grounds that it could prejudice future development of the area. ICOL have been and will continue to work with the council to look at options to reduce the footprint of the site and ensure that other potential future developments can co-exist next to the substation.”

However, he made it clear there were no plans to consider an alternative site, telling the Courier: “We have no intention of moving the proposed site of the onshore transmission works again.”

The reporter is due to visit Cockenzie on Monday as part of her investigation into the application.