A CALL has been made for green open space to be left around a new statue.

Ambitious plans were revealed earlier this year for a development on the outskirts of Dunbar towards the A1.

Hallhill Development Ltd’s proposals feature housing, retail and leisure space on land next to the town’s Asda store and also beside the 16ft-tall DunBear statue.

The work of art, created by Andy Scott, the same man behind The Kelpies, is a tribute to Dunbar-born John Muir, who would go on to become a key figure in the formation of the US national parks.

It was completed last year.

At the start of the month, the developer revealed its plans to the public for the first time via a virtual consultation.

Jacquie Bell, secretary of Dunbar’s community council, was among more than 400 people ‘attending’ the event and said there were still a number of concerns.

She said: “Locally, people are concerned about more housing. Where is the infrastructure? And there are concerns about just general concreting over the grass.

“People hoped round the DunBear there would be something like at The Kelpies, some amenity rather than housing.”

The more than 50-acre plot of land is described as a “mixed use” site and would feature a number of commercial and community uses, as well as housing.

Displays used at the consultation event suggested commercial uses could include office pavilions, retail and leisure units, a nursery, hotel and care home.

Meanwhile, community uses could include a youth centre, visitor centre for The DunBear sculpture and community garden, with the housing described as “elderly amenity” and “low carbon affordable homes for rent”, which would be “aimed at key workers”.

Mrs Bell also shared concerns that the timing of the online exhibition meant a number of people had missed out on their chance to see the proposals.

She said: “If you are not online, you do not read the Courier and nobody has told you about it, it is very difficult to have your say.

“I asked for hard copies because there are people that are not online or they have just got smartphones or tablets.

“I asked for hard copies but they would not be sent out until after the event.”

Various points of access are also shown in the drawings, including extending the road between the garden centre and Asda, as well as two access points through Spott Road Industrial Estate and another road heading towards the south-east corner of the site.

The developers are hopeful that a planning application could be with East Lothian Council by the autumn, with a decision reached early in 2021.

Ken Ross, on behalf of Hallhill Developments Ltd, said: “We are incredibly grateful and would like to thank those who took the time to participate in the digital consultation event for the low carbon community we are proposing at DunBear Park.

“More than 400 people visited the website with many going on to engage in online chats with our development team. The response surpassed our expectations and we are pleased that so many have already taken part in this consultation process.

“Extremely constructive feedback on our proposals has been received and we will use this information to shape our development proposals for this area to deliver further sustainable economic growth and create new job opportunities.

“The proposals for DunBear Park are still open for feedback at www.dunbearpark.com/planning until June 26 and we would urge those who want to engage in this consultative process to feedback here.”