East Lothian athletics club gets to stay purple

Thursday May 4th 2023


Team East Lothian's temporary indoor facility with purple storage containers.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

An athletics club has been allowed to keep a temporary training centre despite complaints about the colour of its exterior.

Team East Lothian, which looks after some of the county’s top young athletes, set up the facility to provide its members with somewhere to train undercover.

The club placed two storage containers on land at Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, in Dunbar, with a roof canopy stretched between them to create an area where athletes could take part in strength training.

But East Lothian Council planning officers said they received complaints about the purple paint used to decorate the outside of the storage containers and their size.

One objector said the colour had a negative impact on their area and could be seen from long distances .

A meeting of the council’s planning committee this week heard that the colour was chosen by the athletes who made up Team East Lothian.

Chris Rhodes, from the club said the purple colour which was chosen by the team was “muted” when compared to the original dark blue colour the storage containers arrived in.

Team East Lothian includes Paralympian Maria Lyle, Scottish Heptathlon champion Adam Hoole and teenage running sensation Corey Campbell who holds the world record for the fastest mile run by a 15 year old and won a bronze medal at this year’s under 17s London mini marathon.

The committee heard four objections to the training facility, which was installed without planning permission after the club believed it was not required, had been lodged.

As well as concern about the colour, protesters also questioned its size and whether it was a ‘private business’ as oppose to the community use associated with the sports grounds.

However Mr Rhodes pointed out Team East Lothian was a charity which worked with the council’s own Active East Lothian and local groups offering use of the facilities to other groups who are encouraged to make donations.

He said: “It is not a commercial venture and never has been, it won’t wash its face.”

Local councillor Donna Collins backed the facilities telling committee members that as a schoolgirl she had been presented with an opportunity to join the Scottish athletics team as a promising discus thrower but was unable to travel to Edinburgh three times a week to train.

She said having to miss out because there was no local facility to train was “one of the biggest regrets of my life”.

She said: “These facilities are an opportunity not just for young people in Dunbar but in East Lothian to be given the chance to succeed at something, to improve themselves, better themselves, and aspire to achieve great things.”

The committee granted retrospective planning permission for the facility for a temporary 36 months.

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