Planning committee members have approved an application that will see solar panels installed within Dunbar’s conservation area.

Members felt that the move recognised the need to balance sustainability alongside heritage. The decision was taken at a planning committee meeting on 5 November 2019.

Committee considered proposals to convert the vacant Dolphin Hotel in Dunbar’s Queen’s Street into a hostel providing tourist accommodation. As part of the plan, the applicant had requested approval for photovoltaic panels to be added to the south-east elevation of the building facing the street. Although not listed, the Dolphin Hotel, which dates from the 19th Century, is within the town’s Conservation Area. Officers felt that the proposal was not in line with this status and had recommended approval of the facility without the panels. However committee discussed the need to integrate sustainable energy solutions in communities as part of the council’s recent declaration of a climate emergency. A condition was attached to the approval of the application that the final panels should be as flush to the roof surface as possible and detailed drawings should be presented ahead of installation for approval.  The application was unanimously approved with this condition in place.

Three other applications were also considered by the committee and were refused permission.

Committee members considered an application to  build a house in Whitekirk behind the village hall. Members refused the application on the grounds that the proposed development would detrimentally affect the character and appearance of the Whitekirk Conservation Area, could adversely affect the Special Landscape Area of Whitekirk to Balgone and the setting of the listed Tithe Barn, could impact upon the use of the village hall in terms of the potential for noise complaints and would result in the loss of a green space in the village. The refusal was supported by 9 councillors with one approval and one abstention.

Members were also asked to decide upon an application to demolish a house in Athelstaneford dating from before 1853 and its replacement with a new-build property using the same footprint and style as a previously-approved design. The committee was told that, following advice from contractors, the applicants wished to demolish their existing property and rebuild it completely to stabilise ground levels and tackle damp. However members were not convinced that this solution was acceptable, as the existing house contributed positively to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. The application was unanimously refused.

Finally, committee members considered an application to site a mobile snack van at Shore Road car park in Belhaven, Dunbar. Although officers had requested restrictions to the operating hours and that approval was granted on a temporary basis for one year, members felt that the location of the proposed van was inappropriate and would unduly impact on neighbouring residential properties. The application was refused by 6 votes to 5.

Published: Wednesday, 6th November 2019