South African street food van at East Lothian beach gets the go-ahead

A South African street food van has been given the go ahead to open at an East Lothian beach – but has been barred from turning right into its new site.

By Marie Sharp
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 1:03 pm
Edinburgh-based BBQ StreetFood applied for planning permission to bring its mobile rotisserie to Longniddry Bents No 1 car park.
Edinburgh-based BBQ StreetFood applied for planning permission to bring its mobile rotisserie to Longniddry Bents No 1 car park.

Edinburgh-based BBQ StreetFood applied for planning permission to bring its mobile rotisserie to Longniddry Bents No1 car park after East Lothian Council advertised a potential snack van site in it.

However concerns over road safety saw conditions attached to the permission ruling the snack van, which is described as a 7.3 metre-long trailer, cannot turn right into the car park on arrival each day or when leaving it.

Councillors imposed the condition after visiting the car park which lies on a bendy stretch of the East Lothian coast road and raising concerns about fast moving traffic.

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The move means that when arriving from its current storage site in Portobello it will automatically turn left, however when leaving the mobile trailer will have to head half a mile east before being able to turn right up towards Longniddry railway station to double back.

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And the owner of the snack van was also ordered to bring his own bins to the site, which has not had a bin on it for 15 years.

Concerns about litter at the beach were raised by councillors and Longniddry Community Council chairwoman Helen Young during a virtual planning meeting today (TUE).

The meeting was told that bins were not provided at Longniddry Bents because they encourage littering.

Neil Clark from the council’s countryside rangers service said the no litter bins strategy had been a “huge success”.

He said: “Longniddry Bents was a difficult site to manage. At its very worst we had litter and rats to deal with.

“We have no litter bins and have had none for 15 years. Not having litter bins has been a huge success story.”

Applicant Andre De Villiers told the committee: “All our packaging is biodegradable from knives and forks to packing itself there is no plastic involved.

“This is not a takeaway van it is a fully bespoke rotisserie.”

Applying for planning permission the company said it plans to operate at the car park from 8.30am to 4.30pm from November to February and then 8.30am to 7.30pm from March to October.

Ms Young told the committee there were concerns about litter caused by customers taking food onto the beach from the car park.

And she hit out at the council for advertising sites at its coastal car parks without “public consultation”.

She said: “As a community council we would have liked to have seen a sustainable tourism policy before East Lothian Council started advertising trade stands.

“There is a lot of anger from other community councils about this being slipped in with no discussion.”

And she warned advertising boards for snack vans would “clutter the coast road”.

She said: “What about the people who just want to visit beaches and countryside. They do not want the smell of fried food or having discussion with children about buying food when they arrive at the beach. They want a cheap day out.”

The committee granted temporary planning permission for the the new street food vendor for one year only to allow them to review its impact in the future.

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