Controversial Cockenzie substation site work could get underway in 2022

Work at Cockenzie could start nearly six years after the iconic chimneys were brought downWork at Cockenzie could start nearly six years after the iconic chimneys were brought down
Work at Cockenzie could start nearly six years after the iconic chimneys were brought down
Construction of a controversial substation at the former Cockenzie Power Station site could get under way next year.

Representatives of Inch Cape, which is building the substation to bring energy onshore from its planned offshore wind farm, told a meeting of Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council that work was expected to begin later next year or early in 2023.

And they said that the company was encouraging contractors to use East Lothian firms where possible.

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Speaking to the virtual meeting, they said that using local suppliers was part of their ongoing discussions.

They said: “We are saying to larger contractors where we know there is a supply chain locally we want them to use them as much as is practically possible.”

Community councillors raised concerns over a lack of plans showing the design progress for the substation.

The meeting was shown an old drawing of the footprint of the substation during a presentation updating them on the company’s progress.

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Bryan Hickman, community council chairperson, pointed to previous public consultations which had provided local ideas for the look of the building, with concerns it would be a “big shed”.

He told Inch Cape: “What we want to see is an architectural statement, not just a big shed.

“It happens in Europe all the time, they seem to design buildings very well while we just put up big shed.”

Two years ago, Inch Cape held public consultations in Cockenzie and Port Seton and Prestonpans to gather ideas for the design of the shed.

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However, the community council said that since then there had been no new design plans shown to the group.

Inch Cape insisted that there would be more opportunities for feedback, adding: “The consultation is not tokenism, the information already given has been taken into consideration.”

Inch Cape won planning permission to build the substation in 2019 after Scottish Ministers controversially called in the planning application before East Lothian Council had the chance to rule on it and granted approval.

Mr Hickman said following the meeting: “It was agreed that Inch Cape would get back to us with plans showing the current design proposals, including elevations.”

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