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Exodus feared as concern grows over Cockenzie Energy Park plan

Plans for a marine energy park at the former Cockenzie Power Station have prompted some home owners to put their houses up for sale, amid fears their value will plummet.

Concerned residents who attended a presentation by Scottish Enterprise of the proposals this week said people were worried about the impact of the large-scale industrial park on their house prices.

And there were claims houses were already being put on the market, as homeowners looked to get out before it was too late.

Nearly 30 members of the public attended the presentation, which was being given to Prestonpans Community Council on Tuesday.

They voiced frustration at the lack of information being provided to residents.

And they called for compensation to be offered to home owners, particuarly those who had moved into the new housing estates off Appin Drive, which they claimed would become a traffic hotspot if proposed road changes went ahead.

One resident said: “There are people who have recently bought new houses at up to £280,000 who are going to see the value drop. Who is going to compensate them?”

And another added: “People are already putting their houses up for sale over it.”

Colin Bell, project manager for the proposed energy park, insisted the project was in the very early stages.

And he said the size of the development and its future was in the hands of the offshore wind farm industry.

He said: “This project is market-driven. We are carrying out extensive research and it will only go ahead if there is market demand for it. If the demand is not there, it will not happen.”

Plans to turn the site of the former power station into the hub of what could be Europe’s biggest wind turbine manufacturing sites were exclusively revealed by the Courier in May.

The multi-million-pound plans would see giant wind turbines manufactured – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – for the offshore renewables industry.

A deep water quay would need to be built, changing the coastline considerably by reclaiming up to 11.8 hectares of land, and Edinburgh Road would be moved, re-routing traffic up to Bankton Terrace.

The proposed site includes the former coal handling plant area to the south of the existing power station – currently being decommissioned – and part of the Blindwells land which has been earmarked for residential housing.

The Coastal Regeneration Forum has held a number of public meetings regarding the energy park proposals, and 2,500 leaflets were put through the doors of residents urging people to attend.

Their next meeting is on Monday evening in Chalmers Church Hall, Port Seton, at 7pm.

Meanwhile Scottish Enterprise has launched a webpage dedicated to the Cockenzie proposals, which gives people a chance to comment on the proposals.

David Leven, head of energy infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are committed to carrying out comprehensive consultation with the local community.

“Input from the community is critical to the future success of any project and we will continue to actively consider information provided throughout the consultation period in order to fully scope out possible options for the site.”

The webpage can be found at cockenzieenergypark.com