I write with the utmost concern over the bleak future that our local economy in East Lothian is facing.

I am an owner of two self-catering/holiday lets in North Berwick.

Last year, these saw 90 per cent occupancy, which equates to around 85-90 individual stays.

Assuming each couple or family spend £200-£500 during their stay at local restaurants, bars, shops, etc, then that equates to a conservative £17,000-£42,500 that is going to be removed from the local economy each year, from my properties alone.

There are (according to the Scottish Government) about 330 holiday lets in North Berwick; assuming that we lose half of them due to not meeting the requirements of the new licensing scheme, that begins to look like a figure in the region of £1-2.5m lost per year.

Alongside that, there would be the resultant direct loss of jobs: the livelihoods of landlords, cleaning staff, maintenance contractors, management agents, linen providers, window cleaners, gardeners, etc.

Where would the attendees and participants of events such as Fringe by the Sea and the Scottish Open stay when the town is left with no accommodation? Edinburgh? There will be no Airbnbs there either. A hotel? For £300 per night for a room you’d sooner go abroad.

The argument from the government and council is that the holiday letting sector should be turned over to long-term lettings in order to ease the housing and homelessness crisis. Can a ‘young person’ or family who are struggling to obtain housing afford the level of rental that a three-bedroom central/sea view/golf course view, etc, would attract?

I get asked multiple times a year, usually by wealthy visitors from down south or overseas, if I would sell to them for figures which are eyewateringly in excess of even the most ambitious valuation of the property. I decline as I believe the town is better for the visitors we welcome each year.

I ask East Lothian Council to respond with a viable plan that can protect the livelihoods of landlords, the jobs they provide to local people, as well as the contribution to the local economy that visitors bring throughout the year.

I fear that we will have less available housing than ever, and a huge reduction in visitors, which will see our beloved North Berwick return to the desolate state it was in during the early 1990s.

James Macavoy

St Baldreds Road

North Berwick