EAST Lothian Council has faced a backlash after producing a map of the former Cockenzie Power Station site to show potential future developers, which features no mention of the Former Cockenzie Power Station and Surrounding Areas Masterplan, the Battle of Prestonpans site and the Greenhills.

Community councillors and the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Trust believe the marketing is misleading due to the exclusion of these sites within the document, with the trust adding that they will be lobbying ministers and MSPs over the matter.

The map (see below) advertises a 200-acre site with about 150 acres of developable land. However, no areas are ringfenced as not being for development on the site map.

East Lothian Courier:

Within the 200-acre site advertised, the council draws attention to the existing jetty, the former power station site, the existing electricity transmission complex, 45 acres of agricultural land, 29 acres of the formal coal storage yard, five rail sidings, rail connection and proximity to the A1.

There is no mention of the Greenhills, which is a popular walking area; the battle site; or the Waggonway, which is thought to have been the site of the oldest railway line in Scotland.

When the document was shown at Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council’s recent February meeting, community councillor Shona Brash told East Lothian councillors: “It’s really important the council get [the marketing] right because if they market it like that then we will have the community reaction of 700-800 people protesting at meetings again. We will be back to square one and that would be shameful of the council.”

She told the Courier: “It would be irresponsible to market the site as in the leaflet that has been produced. The site is not a 'clean' site as the leaflet shows.

“It seems to me to be misleading as it does not represent the way the site is currently used by our communities (Greenhills, pathways, parklands, cycle route, John Muir Way, Waggonway battlefield site, community orchard, football pitch) or the aspirations our communities have for the site – existing uses incorporated and enhanced in the masterplan.

“Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council remains committed to working positively to encourage East Lothian Council to formally adopt the masterplan and I'd hope that the council would do that and market the site on the basis of the masterplan outline.

Bryan Hickman, chairperson of the group, added: “I feel that the leaflet is misleading in that it does not include any of the existing community assets and uses.

“Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council have asked that they be included to inform potential developers of important aspects of the site that the community use and want to retain.

“To date, no decision on the inclusion of these features has been intimated by East Lothian Council.”

Dr Gordon Prestoungrage, chair of the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Trust, said: “The battle trust takes the greatest exception to the leaflet as proposed. It has been deliberately, misleadingly crafted.

“It is a further blatant initiative by East Lothian Council to ignore its responsibilities and the community's wishes.

“Does nobody at East Lothian Council have any decency in the matter?

“It makes absolutely no reference to the Nationally Inventoried Battlefield which must always be taken into account when any planning decisions are taken and such decisions are required to 'protect and enhance' the battlefield; no mention is made of the historic 1722 Waggonway; but most insultingly, no mention is made of the masterplan which the community, Scottish Enterprise and East Lothian Council invested time and effort in at £150,000 three years back in response to community concerns and widest consultation.

“The battle trust is requesting immediate discussions with the CEO and economic development officers. We shall also be lobbying Ministers and MSPs in the matter following the recent fracas at both Culloden and Killiekrankie.”

Ed Bethune, chairman of the 1722 Waggonway Heritage Group, said: "I’m firmly of the belief that areas that contain important heritage assets, such as the Waggonway, should be afforded protection from future development, and I am sure that the vast majority of the local (and wider) population would feel the same way.

"The 1722 Waggonway is an industrial heritage asset of national importance, recently being placed in Scotland’s top fjve archaeological discoveries of 2019, and is a historic routeway likely dating back hundreds of years before the railway was built.

"The Waggonway Group looks forward to continuing its ongoing archaeological work in conjunction with East Lothian Council Archaeology Service, relating to the Waggonway, which has yielded outstanding results thus far."

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: "There is absolutely no suggestion that historic areas such as the battlefield site or the Greenfields are being marketed for development.

“This purpose of this map and accompanying brief text is merely to identify aspects of existing infrastructure such as the jetty, transmission complex and the footprint of the former main power station building, should this be required, in order to aid understanding and discussion.

“It is not intended as high-level marketing material, nor for wider distribution.”