Community bid powers forward at Cockenzie

The power station is being dismantled. Picture: Comp
The power station is being dismantled. Picture: Comp
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LEADERS of a community bid to take over the site of the former Cockenzie power station have pledged to press ahead with their plans after the proposal for a massive marine energy park were abandoned.

The group behind the proposed community buy-out has drawn up a scheme which includes art impresario Richard Demarco’s vision of creating an art gallery – a “Tate Modern for Scotland” – with the shell of the power station.

The building could also house a retail centre, swimming pool, theatre and 
exhibition space. The plans also include a three-harbour boardwalk between Cockenzie, Port Seton and Prestonpans, a play park and mini-golf course on the Greenhills parkland and memorial garden at the site of the Battle of Prestonpans.

Scottish Enterprise announced on Monday that after examining the scale and timing of off-shore wind projects, it had decided now was not the time to build a massive wind turbine factory and deep water port and it would not pursue the project.

The Coastal Regeneration Alliance (CRA), which was set up to challenge the energy park plans, hailed the decision as a “great victory”.

Spokesman Carl Barber said: “This means that a future that the people of Cockenzie, Port Seton, Prestonpans, and Tranent have dreamed of is more possible today. A vision as outlined in its own community-drawn proposal, and now is the only proposal left on the table for the site.

“Our plan now is to proceed with the community buy-out and secure the land for the people, the community and the future.”

He said a public meeting had already backed the plans and the next stage was to sort out boundaries and ownerships before holding a ballot among people in Cockenzie, Port Seton and Prestonpans to ratify the proposals.

ScottishPower, which owns Cockenzie, has permission to build a new gas-fired power station on the site, but looks unlikely to go ahead with such a move.

A spokesman said: “The main focus continues to be the successful completion of the partial dismantlement works.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com