The consented plans for Hallhill North 20/00110/PM only go as far as creating a “woodland learn and play” area and a football kick about area.
Yet the area is already used as a forest school, and there is a surplus of kickabout spaces (Dunbar is very well-equipped and and they are objectively underutilised), so additional interventions seem like displacement or distractions to confuse.
In fact it looks more like a stalking horse for yet more astroturf and floodlighting. Another pointless play area?
Well it seems so an alternative proposal is already being hatched with little or no public scrutiny.
Meanwhile the deer no longer have anywhere to hide. The original environmental report recommended leaving the area, as seminatural grassland and woodland was effectively ignored and the planners, to my mind, daftly waved this through.
In fencing the area off the developers have cut off walking and cycling desire lines. These taken together with other road closures (Hospital Road) has a serious impact on active travel and recreation generally, which the postage stamp “learning wood” will hardly compensate for. Within a few years the factors will recommend its removal to save money.
Doing nothing is often best, it would save money, but has anyone told the deer? What is the habitat mitigation? Maybe they plan to shoot the deer while we sleep?
Dunbar keeps losing large seminatural areas. The Deer Park is as good as doomed. There seems almost no chance to protect this remnant of the old Lochend estate, which only a few years before was an old policy woodland.