£250,000 down the pan as Dunbar beach toilet block wrecked

PART OF a £500,000 revamp of beach facilities in the Lothians has been destroyed in an apparent fire-raising attack.

Firefighters were called to Linkfield car park, Dunbar, East Lothian, in the early hours of Saturday morning where a wooden one-storey toilet block was well alight.

At the height of the blaze, which took place within the grounds of John Muir Country Park, more than 20 firefighters were in attendance. Crews remained on site for nine hours before declaring the area safe.

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An East Lothian Council spokesman said the new toilet block, which had almost been completed, was due to open this summer.

The facility is part of a £500,000 refurbishment of beach facilities in East Lothian which will see new toilets built at Linkfield and Yellowcraigs beaches. The cost of the damage is around £250,000.

Also to be included in the refurbishment, expected to be completed this summer, were outdoor showers and storage for surfing groups at Linkfield and a ranger’s office at 

Dunbar Councillor Paul McLennan said: “There are a lot of angry people in Dunbar. People are just disgusted because of this.

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“It looks as though this building will have to be completely demolished and rebuilt.

“It’s extremely disappointing as it was all going so well.

“You try and invest in new facilities for the area and then something like this happens.

“I had a walk along there and you could see a tree which had fallen down and someone had tried to set that on fire as well, so I would imagine that has been deliberate.”

Councillor McLennan added that he was waiting to hear whether any part of the building could be salvaged but added it was “unlikely”.

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The chairman of Dunbar Community Council, Stephen Bunyan, said: “This isn’t just a setback for Dunbar but it is a setback for the John Muir Country Park. There’s still a fair bit of the summer left to go and now we aren’t going to have this facility for visitors.”

Over the years East Lothian Council has received numerous awards for the standards of its public facilities – in 2009 the council’s 23 public toilets were crowned the best in Scotland.

A council spokeswoman said that, as the block was still in the hands of its contractor Maxi Construction, the local authority would not be left out of pocket.

She added: “We are obviously extremely disappointed.”

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating a suspicious fire that broke out at a building under construction at John Muir Country Park, Dunbar, at the weekend.

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“The fire was reported in the early hours of Saturday 
morning, and police are appealing for anyone who can assist their enquiries to call 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 
555 111.”