CONCERN over “grotty coffee” and fried food was voiced as a bid to open a mobile snack van at a coastal car park was thrown out by councillors.

A planning application to operate the snack bar at a car park next to John Muir Country Park, by Dunbar, was recommended for approval by planning officials but faced opposition from neighbours and the town’s community council.

Objections ranging from the type of food which would be served to smells from cooking and littering were lodged with the local authority.

The snack bar application was for the car park on Shore Road, Belhaven.

Resident Ian Hamilton, whose house is nine metres from the proposed location of the van, told a planning committee meeting in Haddington that it was the wrong site for the unit.

“In my experience, mobile snack vans tend to be in lay-bys or industrial estates,” he said. “I can’t think of one in this type of location in East Lothian.”

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of Dunbar Community Council, said the group was against the snack bar, insisting they were not “nae-sayers”.

She added: “We are absolutely committed to the economic regeneration of Dunbar and want it to be a go-to place but when we viewed this application our hearts sank.

“This is right on the edge of John Muir Country Park, with the Bass Rock and Bridge to Nowhere, iconic sites, in view and right in the middle of it is proposed to put this.”

Mrs Swan referred to a photograph submitted with the application which appeared to show  a working mobile snack unit open for business.

However, the husband of applicant Angela Cairney, Lawrence Cairney, told the committee that the picture was not the actual snack bar but just a “greasy spoon” which gave planners an idea of its size.

In response, Mrs Swan said: “So we are being asked to comment on something without even knowing what it looks like?

This is about making sure what we put in this special place is special.”

Although planning officers had ruled that the food offered from the proposed snack van was not relevant to any decision, Mrs Swan said the community council did feel it was important and was also concerned about littering.

She added: “This is fried food – fried food that comes in containers and we know this is an issue with litter.”

Councillor Sue Kempson, ward member, also objected to the van being located there.

She said: “This is a beautiful part of the coastline: people come to the area for the peace, for the nature.”

Councillor Kempson said she did not see the appeal of the snack bar, saying: “People will have their grotty coffee from a snack bar. I’m sorry but I have used snack bars and never had decent coffee [from them].”

Not all councillors objected to the proposal. Councillor John Williamson said that while five-star dining might be “food heaven” to some, a burger from a van could be for others.

Councillors, some of whom were unhappy at the proposed location of the snack van and its possible impact on town centre food outlets, voted to reject the snack bar application by six votes to five.