Yet again the developers are trying to expand North Berwick – this time to the East – along the coast road towards Tantallon. This is on top of several other very large building sites by other developers and a great deal many more houses.
Goldcrest developments want to build a large private retirement village – 160-plus houses, a care home for 60, a health centre, a “hub” activity area and houses with units for carers. This is on the prime farming land to the north of the main road and will to a very large extent obscure the iconic view we have right along that road of the coastline: the Forth, the islands, the bays and rocks along towards Tantallon Castle. We were shown pre-plan maps at a public meeting. There would be one access road, and as far as I can see nowhere to divert any of us travelling along that way towards Whitekirk or Dunbar while the building was going on – a recipe for mayhem.
No thought appears to have been given to the environment, the local habitat of flora and fauna, and superb bird life in the area of the Bass Rock.
I am not against retirement villages – but this one is in entirely the wrong place. This is to be a private retirement village – it will be largely BUPA and the health centre on the site will be for BUPA members – not the local population. The care home will need carers – from where? I know many of our local care homes have difficulty in finding good local carers now but I was told that BUPA will probably “bus” them in.
The exact details are still in the melting pot, but the site is not. We have been shown detailed plans which no doubt will be tweaked to try to appease us (it won’t) and I have yet to meet anyone local who wants it. A groundswell of extremely strong opposition is forming.
Why not build the retirement village on the south side of the road where the views would not be totally spoiled and lost forever – wildlife, flora and fauna, the sea views gone for good and this – our area of natural and historic beauty – lost forever for future generations.
So visitors and tourists – welcome to our lovely county and if you are lucky in future you may just catch a glimpse of the Bass Rock and gannets, and other islands and Tantallon Castle in between rows of probably identical houses.
I am glad I have lived and worked here for the last 50 years in a beautiful country area. Sadly this will soon be gone and once gone will not come back for future generations to enjoy.
Pat Morris, Hopetoun Terrace, Gullane.
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