AFTER the storms, I hope that with spring soon with us, we will be able to get outdoors to explore everything East Lothian has to offer.

Sadly, Historic Environment Scotland has recently taken the decision to close Tantallon Castle, Dirleton Castle, Seton Collegiate Church and Hailes Castle indefinitely.

This is due to high rates of deterioration, which they say is partly the result of climate change.

I appreciate that this decision was reached in order to protect public safety and to carry out essential maintenance.

But many residents and businesses in the local area and further afield have been in touch to raise community concerns about the broader implications of these ‘indefinite’ closures.

Before the pandemic, visitors of Dirleton Castle and Tantallon Castle provided a significant boost to the local economy.

East Lothian Courier: Tantallon Castle. Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.Tantallon Castle. Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In 2019, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions reported that Tantallon Castle had 45,798 visitors and Dirleton Castle 31,893 – making them two of East Lothian’s most popular tourist destinations.

I am concerned that these sites may be closed for years, with no plan or timeline on their future reopening.

This led me to write last week to Alex Paterson, chief executive of Historic Environment Scotland.

I am pressing HES for a meeting to discuss the situation and the possibility of developing a timetable to reopen these sites as soon as possible.

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I have also tabled a question to the Scottish Government asking them what support they can provide for these ancient monuments and am seeking the support of East Lothian Council.

My hope is that Historic Environment Scotland will be able to reassure residents they are doing all they can to reopen these sites.

Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or points to raise. I am here to serve you and am keen to engage and happy to help.