RESIDENTS of a coastal community have banded together to oppose plans to transform the site of a former power plant into a marine energy operation.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend a meeting tonight to add their voices to ongoing concerns over proposals to develop the site of the disused Cockenzie power station in East Lothian.

Scottish Enterprise is currently looking at a number of schemes for the area, one of which could see a deep water quay built on 11 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea along with an industrial park servicing green technologies which could see the area become the European hub for the offshore wind industry. However, the meeting is the latest organised by a growing grassroots campaign against the plans which has had to move to bigger premises due to the level of interest and number of people wishing to attend and have their voices heard.

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Tonight's meeting will see the launch of a petition against the plans. Organisers the Coastal Regeneration Alliance (CRA) warn that the marine park would dramatically change the coastline and the surrounding area and damage valuable greenbelt and historically important land.

Part of the site under consideration for redevelopment includes the battlefield at Prestonpans, where a Jacobite army defeated government forces in 1745, while the plan could also see the relocation of part of the road linking the town and Cockenzie, and the re-routing of a section of the of the newly-opened John Muir Way.

Carl Barber, spokesman for the CRA said that people living locally were "tired of industry" and wanted the waterfront to be used for recreation and to improve quality of life for residents. Cockenzie closed on March 15 last year after 46 years in service.

Mr Barber said: "People were promised a marina and a waterfront, and they want this area to be an attractive place to live. But these plans would change the whole coast.

"The community is against all the proposals put forward to develop Cockenzie and are ready for a long fight."

David Leven, head of energy infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise, said: "We are looking at a number of options to maximise the full economic development potential at the Cockenzie Power station site in East Lothian, which includes the development of an Energy Park to support Scotland's growing offshore wind sector.

"Input from the local community is critical to the future success of any project and we will consider information provided throughout the consultation."