WORK to revitalise a beach that was once a popular tourist destination is unlikely to get under way until the new year.

Dunbar’s East Beach was once a magnet for visitors but coastal erosion has meant that sand has been lost to the sea.

It has left a rockier beach, with a sewer pipe also exposed.

Dunbar Community Council has been working with East Lothian Council and various other parties in a bid to address the issue and see the beach returned to its former glory.

A Marine Licence application was previously lodged with Marine Scotland, with work expected to get under way on the previously sandy beach in the new year.

Planning permission was given earlier this year for a scheme including groynes, a breakwater and rock armour.

If successful, it is hoped that sand will not only return to the beach but the coastline will also be protected.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute leader of East Lothian Council and a Dunbar and East Linton ward member, acknowledged it felt like progress had been slow and he was keen to see work get under way.

He stressed the importance of the beach to the town, for its people and economy.

Mr Hampshire said: “Anybody that visits the town centre wants to go to the seaside.

“You are on High Street and the harbour is really attractive and you come along to the East Beach and you have got something that does not look attractive at all.

“You can still go down there but it is not easy to walk around on – but [with] a nice sandy beach, families can go and sit on the sand.

“Any successful seaside town needs a sandy beach in the town centre.”

The plans 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 first 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.

Thirdly, 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.

However, Mr Hampshire stressed, despite expert advice, that the work was not guaranteed to transform the beach back into what it once was.

The councillor said nature had a large part to play, although he was keen to see sand back on the beach.

He said: “The beach when I grew up, it was always sandy and it used to be packed with people every summer.

“When my own children were growing up, the beach was always sandy as well.”

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of the town’s community council, was pleased to see progress being made on the project.

She said construction was due to take between six and eight weeks and had previously hoped it would be complete by the end of the month.

Mrs Swan added: “We are absolutely thrilled. We still recognise that as we have always said these interventions have to be considered part of a live trial and very much hoping it has a positive impact on the beach.

“For residents and visitors, the beach has historically been a real draw.

“I think everybody who has been involved recognises that it has a very significant economic value to the town.”