Anglers on Linlithgow Loch have won planning permission to replace their decaying wooden pontoon jetty.
Visitors had complained that the jetty was unsafe and difficult to access with some put off fishing on the loch.
Planning officials had objected proposals by Forth Area Federation of Anglers to remove the jetty and replace it with a new purpose built modular structure made out of a jigsaw of plastic cubes.
Planners said the plastic – initially described as an interlocking grey jigsaw pontoon – would be out of keeping in a conservation area. The jetty is on a part of the loch easily accessible from the town’s high street .
Planners said they had a duty “to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas” and the plastic jetty would be out of keeping in the heart of the town’s conservation area.
However, there had been no objections to the proposals,and local MP Martyn Day had written in support of the anglers.
Members of the Development Management Committee heard Ricky Martin, representing the anglers, describe complaints from visitors about the safety of the existing structure – which is used to access small boats for fishing. Weed growth means fishing from the bank of the loch is impractical.
Local councillors Provost Tom Kerr and David Tait were impressed with the amount of work the federation had put in to secure the most effective material to provide anew jetty-including the fact that they were prepared to build one with black rather than grey plastic. Provost Kerr said that the new jetty would enhance facilities on the loch and pointed out that the fishing craft would need to resemble those from the 16th century onwards if the council was to follow the logic on respecting the conservation area.
Councillor George Paul was impressed with the fact that the new jetty would have in-built safety features including a safety surface and the potential for rails to be installed. Agreement to back the proposals was unanimous.