24: The Future’s So Bright…

…we gotta wear shades! Or, at least that’s what you might have thought this weekend right across the county. It wasn’t just that Dunbar, North Berwick and Gullane were mobbed, with High Street pavements and car parks choked and beaches busy with strollers and pale skin lolling beneath newly dusted-down sunglasses. Elsewhere hummed to the tunes of lawnmowers and the chink of spade and iced tumblers in gardens. Weekends like this, our visitors just have to live with their jealousy.

But those visitors are also the future; they are what has revived North Berwick High Street and spurred hundreds of volunteers to make the place look cared for. This has now spilled over to East Linton and Cockenzie/Port Seton, as well as more obvious destinations, again because the place looks cared for. While we build such desirable communities, the financial boost to make it all work has to come from tourism.

Labour huffs and puffs about jobs and economy. But, with their heads stuck down a 19th © hole, they don’t have a clue. They want Cockenzie Power Station (possibly the ugliest but certainly the most prominent building in Scotland) to stay for another 30+ years. Why? for maybe 50 jobs. If you replaced it with a marina, harbour, boat trips, restaurants, shops, seafood specialties, etc, you’d have over 1,000 jobs, plus perhaps £30m injected into the local economy annually. You would also link wildlife of the lagoons with Longniddry Bents and elevate the John Muir Way to national status and re-invent Prestonpans as a destination by making a long seafront walkway part of it.

Beats me why my opponents are such Luddites and can’t see a more suitable future for such a wonderful place. Maybe they wear dark glasses on all the time; maybe they’re just blind.

About davidsberry

Local councillor, tour guide and database designer. Keen on wildlife, history, boats and music. Stood for the Scottish Parliament 2011; lost by 151 votes.
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4 Responses to 24: The Future’s So Bright…

  1. Realist says:

    Sounds great Dave. Perhaps you could answer the following for me?
    Have you established if Scottish Power are prepared to sell the land?
    Who is putting up the money to buy it from them?
    Who will pay to clean the site up?
    How are you going to stop travellers trashing it once you have cleaned it up?
    Who is paying to put up all the facilities you mention?
    Is the site geologically suitable for your marina (I remember it as being a rocky beach before they built the station)?
    Do we really need a marina and another harbour, considering the two harbours already there are underused?
    How will you stop the sea from swamping the long seafront walkway at Prestonpans whenever the tide comes in? East Lothian Council have only just patched up Port Seton shoreline that was damaged by last year’s storms.
    Can’t you think of more pressing priorities for the people of Cockenzie, Port Seton, and Prestonpans?
    Her are a few to get you started; care homes, school busses, restoring support for local community groups, jobs, pot holes, etc…
    A bit more realistic to deal with those sort of issues perhaps?

  2. davidsberry says:

    Not bad questions; here are some answers:
    1. No, nor is there any indication they would. But if the station were blocked, what’s their option? Think: they could net more out of this with much less investment of scarce finance and project management demand than from any power station.
    2. No takers yet; this needs homework and sums first. Sorry you dislike innovation. Some of the best parts of the world owe their value to it. Ever been to Mykonos or Amalfi? The things imagination can do with coastlines…
    3. Any potential developer—it’s part of the deal
    4. Same as any other coastal site—small berms and height restrictions
    5. Same as 3. above (Have you ever seen Baltimore’s waterfront?)
    6. If it can take a power station, there are few geological problems
    7. Yes. A marina is a large recreational boat park with facilities; a harbour like Cockenzie is unsuitable, although it does have a future when we create a seafood and maritime watersports industry (sorry—that belongs in another blog)
    8. 50-year storms do occur. But we don’t abandon the coast in case one happens; you build with storms and rising sea in mind
    9. Yes, and I’ve spent much of my last 12 years addressing many of them first (Community Centre, Bellany Day Centre, Harlawhill Centre, Battle Trust, Pennypit, affordable housing, etc. But Mercat Gait was a step too far) Now it’s time to move on.
    If all you can imagine for their future is 50 jobs in a power station, then it’s time someone ckued you in what imagination, guts and determination could do to give local life a future and save them from the sterile short-termism of Labour that has offered only a 19th © vision for the fifty years since the last pit closed. Get in the 21st © and then we’ll talk.

  3. Realist says:

    To sum up; Scottish Power aren’t for selling, you know of no buyers or potential investors, you ‘think’ that it will be suitable geologically, you don’t seem to appreciate that most of the Prestonpans foreshore is already under water each day (50 year storms or not), and you would rather spend time imagining your version of utopia rather than addressing the very real issues that people are facing now.
    Get some proper answers and then we’ll talk.
    Not very nice promising voters things that you cannot deliver. That sort of behaviour gives politicians a bad name!

  4. Pingback: Top Ten Hits This Year | davidsberry

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