THE decision by Prestonpans Community Council not to oppose planned boundary changes was “childish” and “bordering on tribal”, a Tranent ward councillor has said.

Boundaries Scotland revealed plans in April to scrap the East Lothian constituency at Holyrood and split the county, electorally, into two new seats: Edinburgh Eastern, Musselburgh and Tranent – which would also include Elphinstone, Whitecraig and Wallyford – and Lothian Eastern, covering the rest of the county.

The latest proposals follow plans mooted last summer which would have seen Prestonpans moved out of the East Lothian constituency for the Scottish Parliament elections.

At April’s meeting of Prestonpans Community Council, the group discussed the proposals at length, opting not to oppose the decision.

Dr DJ Johnston-Smith, chair of the group, said then: “When we had our concerns before, there was certainly no support from Tranent. But we could still come to the Belters’ aid. But I don’t think we have any locus in Tranent’s fight, nor did they in ours at the time.

“I think the argument would be that if we oppose Tranent being removed, do they go back to the original plan and Prestonpans gets removed?

“I think there could be a scenario where it is one or the other and we can’t have Prestonpans removed.”

While some members of the group did suggest opposing the plans, it was finally agreed that the group would not.

Councillor Colin McGinn

Councillor Colin McGinn

But a subsequent meeting of Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council (TECC), held last month, saw the neighbouring town’s representatives come under fire.

Mike Falconer, TECC chair, said: “I was really upset with the response from Prestonpans Community Council. They say Tranent didn’t support them when there was concerns they could be removed, and that is not true. There was lots of support in Tranent against the proposals.

“I would have hoped for their support in opposing this.”

Councillor Colin McGinn labelled the response by Prestonpans Community Council as “bordering on tribal”.

He said: “I was very disappointed too. It’s bordering on tribal, that response.

“It felt childish because lots in Tranent did support them at the time.”

Mr Falconer added that he felt like it was “going back to the 1970s”.

READ MORE: Public response to proposed Tranent boundary changes 'underwhelming'

However, TECC member Robert McNeill, a former East Lothian councillor, said he did not see the decision as tribal, and put the decision down to past disagreements between the groups, including the handling of the proposed Johnnie Cope’s Road closure last year, in which TECC was less vocal about its opposition to the closure than Prestonpans Community Council.

He said: “I don’t think it is tribal. I think there are one or two people on that community council that the issue may be with. I think this is a lot to do with the Johnnie Cope’s Road situation too. But I don’t think it is helpful.”

East Lothian councillor Lee-Anne Menzies added: “I think it is important that we note that it felt more like a political decision from the group, rather than personal. But, unfortunately, that’s not how good community relationships are built.

“We need to leave politics at the door. I opposed the proposals when Prestonpans was to be removed. I have no affiliation with the ’Pans – it was just the right thing to do.”

The consultation on the proposals ended last month, with a decision still to come on whether changes will be made.