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July 23rd 2003

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What the Papers Say'd in East Lothian

Community welcomes plan to upgrade pub

PLANS for a half-a-million refurbishment of a Prestonpans pub were welcomed by town leaders this week.

But there were some reservations voiced about the Baron of Prestoungrange's proposals for the Prestoungrange Gothenburg including concerns over noise, parking and potential smells from a planned microbrewery.

Representatives of the Baron spoke about the proposals for the pub, which have been lodged with East Lothian Council but have yet to come before committee, at a meeting of Prestonpans Community Council on Tuesday night.

Muralist Andrew Crummy, who lives in Port Seton and has been involved in painting murals around Prestonpans, apologised that the Baron, who was in Canada this week, could not make the meeting but said he hoped to attend in the future.

He stressed they wanted to work with the community and explained the idea behind the Gothenburg was that it would General Manager of the Baron Courts, Ann Taylor, said they wanted to renovate the Edwardian bar, build a micro- brewery and open a bistro, as well as restore the upstairs meeting rooms for use for weddings, formal meetings and conferences, with access for local clubs and organisations.

"We are working hand-in-hand with Historic Scotland. We want to restore it - not put in pool tables and run discos. The front is to be repainted and restored - we want it to be an eyepiece for Prestonpans," she said.

Consultant for the planned microbrewery lain Tumball moved to allay residents' fears about smells from the brewery, which would only make enough old Fowler's Ales to sell in the pub.

He said it would brew 90 gallons of the beer, twice a week, and he sought to assure residents, who attended the meeting, that any smells from the process would be at a minimum.

"I am sure you will want to know, is it going to smell. Yes, everything smells, but the question is does it smell unpleasant and, if so, for any length of time.

The pub is sited near to a pizza shop, a chip shop, which are both open nearly eight hours a day. I would say that you would have more of a problem from them than from the microbrewery," he said.

Mr Tumball added: "We have not had any problems anywhere else we have installed a microbrewery and I don't anticipate any here. This is, in fact, the smallest we have installed."

Nearby resident David Brown said he did not have a problem with the Gothenburg re-opening but spoke of his fears about both the smell from the microbrewery and noise pollution from the public house.

However, Harry Caimey welcomed the proposal, comparing the Baron to a "fairy godmother" who had arrived to spread money around Prestonpans.

"Obviously all of the planning conditions will have to be met. People can object through the planning process but I am very excited.

"Look at the number of companies that want to come into the Pans and invest - it's not many. Here, we're talking about a half-a-million investment. It is only a number of years ago that we were talking about people leaving the town," he said.

His views were echoed by community council chairman Alex Park, who said: "I would support wholeheartedly anyone who is prepared to spend that money and not take a thing back in return and all the profits go back into the town.

"Obviously there are one or two things to be sorted out but I support it."

Local councillor Willie Innes said he advocated the pub re-opening but added that he had been approached by residents, who had raised worries about the proposals.

He said there was anxiety about the proposed extension, which would take the pub closer to the existing houses, as well as worries about parking around the Gothenburg.

Mr Innes also raised the possibility of the microbrewery being housed at Prestoungrange, rather than in the pub, as part of a larger project to bring back original trades to the town.

Published Date: January 17th 2003

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