THE first stage of work to breathe new life into a previously picturesque beach could be complete by the summer.

Dunbar’s East Beach, which hosts the town’s annual Loony Dook, was once a magnet for tourists but the disappearance of its golden sands over the years due to coastal erosion has led to fewer visitors.

East Lothian Council has already been given permission for the first phase of work on the beach, which it is hoped will help sand return while also protecting the shore.

A public exhibition detailing plans for a second phase of work – and the project overall – takes place in Dunbar’s Bleachingfield Centre on Monday afternoon.

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of the town’s community council, explained the desire to see the beach restored to how it was previously.

She said: “It has been a long-held ambition.

“People reminisce about how wonderful the beach was and there has been a lot of disappointment that it has been so rocky for so long.”

Dave Northcott, East Lothian Council structural engineer and project leader, visited the community council shortly before Christmas to outline the plans.

Consent is already in place for the construction of a breakwater at the southern end of East Beach.

Refurbishment of the existing groyne at the same end of the beach has also been approved, alongside the placement of rock armour at the toe of the seawall. A marine licence is in place until the end of May, with work to be complete before then.

At the same time, plans are being drawn up for a second phase of work, which would see the creation of a breakwater at the northern end of the beach.

A marine licence will be needed for that piece of work, with the hope that could be in place before the end of May to allow work to simply continue from the first phase.

If that is not possible, the contractor will leave the site and return at a later date to construct the northern breakwater.

Mrs Swan, who is also chairwoman of Dunbar Shore and Harbour Neighbourhood Group, encouraged people to head along to the public exhibition, which takes place between 2pm and 7pm.

Those in attendance can speak to the consultants and East Lothian Council about the plans.

Mrs Swan added: “I think it is really, really important for people to come to the exhibition for two reasons.

“One is to understand the thinking that has gone into the regeneration project and the other one is to become aware of the impact it might have on them during the construction weeks because it is going to be at least six weeks and it could run into months.

“The nature of the breakwater is they are built of huge rocks, between three and six tonnes, and they are all coming from the quarry at Markle. There will be heavy vehicles moving through the town over an extended period of time.”