A COUNCILLOR has branded a plan for a Formula 1 race track at a site earmarked for a wildlife haven at Musselburgh an "early April Fool".

Councillor Andy Forrest, a ward member for Musselburgh and Depute Provost of East Lothian, said on Twitter: "Next year's F1 calendar: Monza, Monaco, Musselburgh.

"Thought I had slept through the first three months of 2021 when I saw this, has to be an early April Fool."

The proposal for an international race track at Musselburgh Lagoons is being put forward by The Sunbeam Trust, set up by retired Peebles businessman Bob Jamieson.

The proposal would see other sports facilities based at the site, including an ice rink, gym and speedway venue; however, the main focus would be a race track.

Councillor John Williamson, ward member, said: "My understanding is that no formal planning application has been submitted. It appears to be a purely speculative proposal as the land in question belongs to the Musselburgh Common Good Fund.

"It is a much used and loved public open space, watersports area on the pond and nature reserve."

Councillor Stuart Currie, ward member, said: "This is a speculative proposal that has not been encouraged or asked for.

"In my view, the lagoons area is an exceptional area that is enjoyed by so many in our town, particularly as a place to walk during the current pandemic.

"II do not welcome this proposal and will represent my constituents to oppose it in any way I can should it come forward."

Colin Beattie, Musselburgh MSP, said: "I would like to make it clear that I will not be supportive of this proposal.

"This proposal would remove a beloved nature area in the constituency and would be detrimental to the wildlife in the area.

"I know that many constituents will be very dismayed when they hear of these proposals and will be devastated at the thought of losing this spot for birdwatchers, dog walkers and those who enjoy the outdoors."

The Friends of Musselburgh Links said on Twitter: "We have contacted the head of planning at the council to express our concern and seek assurances but we hope this silly idea never even gets submitted."

An online campaign to 'Say NO to detrimental developments at Musselburgh Lagoons', launched in the wake of the race track plan, has already collected more than 4,000 signatures.

They raised road traffic concerns with the "influx" of people coming to the area.

Members of the public have also taken to social media to air their views about the plan.

Comments included:

  • "Massive F1 fan but that would be a travesty."
  • "Surely it's not April Fools' Day yet, I hope there will be huge outcry about this."
  • "Musselburgh vs the glitz and glamour of Monaco!"
  • "Too late, I've had plans approved for the new SpaceX launch pad for the first manned mission to Mars."
  • "Excellent idea. Scotland is crying out for a decent race track. Knockhill is all we have."
  • "Would be amazing, good for younger generation."
  • "Great news hope it goes ahead. Think of the money and jobs that it would bring to the Honest Toun."