A ROW has broken out over plans for a toilet block at Dunbar Harbour.

Dunbar Harbour Trust, which manages the harbour, has lodged the proposals with East Lothian Council in a bid to improve facilities for harbour users and visitors.

However, they have been met with opposition by a number of residents who live nearby the chosen location, which is on Victoria Place at the harbour.

Among those “strongly” objecting to the plans, which would see three toilets – made up of two unisex toilets and a disabled toilet – are Michael and Pamela Denholm.

In a letter to East Lothian Council’s planning department, they highlighted various issues of concern.

Mr Denholm, who lives near where the toilets would be created, said: “The proposed toilet block will be in direct view and only metres away from our living room and front door.

“It will be in full view and only metres away from homes in Harbour Court and Yellowcraig.”

Concerns were also raised about the potential smell and noise from the toilets.

Mr Denholm said: “There are already severe parking problems around Victoria Harbour and the erection of a toilet block will add to these.

“There is, however, sufficient non-residential space within the immediate harbour area for structures away from people’s homes.

“There are already good (and award-winning) public toilets not far away, within five minutes walk at the east end of Dunbar High Street near the public baths.”

Neighbours Peter and Jennifer Clowes felt that there were a number of other locations in the harbour which were better suited to public toilets.

They said: “A far better choice of site would be at the west end of the harbour near to the castle wall.

“There is a large space at the corner where the toilet block could be easily placed and additionally there is a street light to which a surveillance camera could be fitted so that unruly behaviour could be observed.

“The choice of this west-end site would preserve the essential character of Dunbar Harbour and not degrade the world-famous development by Sir Basil Spence.”

Fellow neighbour Alastair Cook agreed that there were other locations which would have been better for the toilets.

He questioned why Dunbar Harbour Trust had not asked neighbours for their thoughts on the plans and added: “The fact we are annoyed they have not consulted us is not a material planning consideration but what is are the loss of privacy, visual impact, noise, smell, it is contrary to the Local Development Plan and has an impact on a conservation area.

“Any alteration to a conservation area must either do one of two things: preserve it or enhance it.”

Dunbar Harbour Trust told the Courier that the topic had been discussed over a number of years, with surveys showing visitors would appreciate toilets at the harbour.

A spokesman for the group said: “Many visitors to Dunbar Harbour, the commercial fishermen and the leisure users of the harbour over the years have been disappointed by the lack of proper amenities at the harbour.

“It has long been the wish of the harbour trust to offer a better welcome in this regard and to provide improved facilities for all.

“The choice of the location along the South Pier has been made carefully to minimise the visual impact, with the toilets facing away from neighbouring buildings and with a landscaped roof so that the residential houses look out at greenery.”