Brussels sprouts should be used to pay rent, East Lothian Council are told

The sprouts that are grown on an historic battlefield should be used as rent, it is being claimed.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:00 pm
The sprouts that are grown on an historic battlefield should be used as rent, it is being claimed.
The sprouts that are grown on an historic battlefield should be used as rent, it is being claimed.

BRUSSELS sprouts grown on an historic battlefield should be used to pay the rent for storing tapestries and stock belonging to a battle trust, it is being claimed.

The Battle of Prestonpans Trust was left disappointed when its bid to cultivate the field itself failed and East Lothian Council gave it to a sprout farmer instead.

Now the trust is hoping for some festive cheer from the local authority by requesting the income from leasing out the field is used to pay its rent.

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The trust, which stores tapestries including the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, books and other items in a council-owned unit when not on display, believes the gesture would be fair return for its work in the community.

There was anger from the trust earlier this year when the local authority chose to rent part of the battlefield, which it took ownership of as part of land sold to it by ScottishPower as part of the former Cockenzie Power Station site, to another bidder.

The trust wanted to grow rye, a traditional crop from the 18th century, on the site but was outbid by the Brussels sprouts farmer.

In a letter to the council’s head of communities Sharon Saunders, joint trust chairman Dr Gordon Prestoungrange said that after the council withdrew direct financial support for festivals across the county in 2018, it was made clear there would be a “determined effort” to give in-kind support.

While it was not apparent during the bid for the battlefield earlier in the year, he is urging the local authority to do it now, reminding the council that the trust took on the expense of creating and installing memorial tables on the historic site and the cost of additional signage.

He said: “Now the time has arrived when we need to ask for specific support in respect of the rental of warehouse facilities required for the trust’s substantial stock of books and the housing of the tapestries and their boards when not out on display.”

He asked on behalf of the trust that the council considered using the rental income, which he estimated at over £5,000, to cover the cost of renting the unit in Prestonpans, which is expected to be £5,004 next year, pointing to the work of the trust locally.

He said: “Our extensive in-kind contributions to East Lothian Council and our fellow residents in respect of stewardship of Bankton Doocot, the Battle Bing, interpretation and sign boards, educational sessions, encampments and exhibitions will of course continue in 2020.”

Next year will be the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Prestonpans and the trust is planning to make it a year of celebrations.