WORK to restore Dunbar’s East Beach to its former glory could get under way within a matter of weeks.

The once-picturesque sandy beach has lost huge amounts of sand to the tides in recent years.

Now, planning permission has been given for a scheme which aims to reinvigorate the beach, which used to be a magnet for tourists.

Groynes, a breakwater and rock armour are included in the proposal, which was highlighted by ward councillor Norman Hampshire at a meeting of Dunbar Community Council.

Mr Hampshire, the local authority’s spokesman for environment, told the Courier: “We have been working on this project for some time, trying to get a method where we can attract sand back onto the beach again.

“The consultants who have been looking at it have taken some time to come up with this option: a redesign of the groyne and two breakwaters to prevent [the damage caused] when we have a large sea coming in; it damages the main wall and drags sand off the beach. These breakwaters are supposed to prevent that from happening.

“If we can get sand onto the beach, it should stay.”

The plans, submitted and approved by East Lothian Council, include repairing or replacing an existing groyne on the southern end of the beach that has fallen into disrepair.

A rock groyne will be created at the northern end of the beach, opposite the junction with The Vennel, with a concrete groyne towards the south, while a rock breakwater will also be included.

The work is split into four sections, with the refurbishment of the existing groyne acting to retain the beach level in the area as it is currently.

Secondly, the breakwater, in addition to providing direct protection to a limited section of the defence, will allow an assessment of the capacity for a natural beach to be developed.

The groyne at the northern end of the beach will provide protection over part of the northern section of the seawall, with the potential to develop a higher beach in front of the wall.

Finally, armour stones will be put in place along Lamer Street to protect the seawall.

Mr Hampshire said time had been taken to find the design most likely to boost the beach.

But he added: “There are no guarantees – we are fighting against nature here.”

Mr Hampshire told community councillors he was hopeful work could start “early summer”.

Discussions have been ongoing for more than five years regarding what can be done to try to turn the clock back and see the beach looking as it did in the past.

Previous suggestions have included bringing sand across from Crail and St Monans in Fife.

Mr Hampshire said that had not been ruled out – and every option would be explored – but it would prove “really expensive”.

Pippa Swan, community council chairwoman, thanked Mr Hampshire for his efforts in bringing the scheme forward.

She stressed the importance of the beach and said: “I think East Beach is just part of the place that Dunbar is.

“It has been a holiday destination for a long time and people remember it as a sandy place and a place of leisure.

“This rocky quarry we have now is something that saddens a lot of people.”

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said they were not yet in a position to reveal the cost of the scheme.

She added: “Work identified as helping to tackle erosion concerns on the East Beach will go out to tender with a view to work starting later this year, hopefully before the autumn period.”