A new hotel extension with balcony hot tubs has been approved despite claims they could use more than 7,000 litres of water a day.
Concern over the carbon footprint of nine new hot tubs included in the plans for the thee-storey extension at the Bayswell Hotel, Dunbar, saw 20 local objections lodged with East Lothian Council planners.
At a virtual meeting of the local authority’s planning committee on Tuesday, councillors also voiced disquiet at the impact of the popular amenity on the environment with one politician saying “hot tubs are unnecessary.”
Hotel owner Simon Flame told the committee that the hotel’s current hot tubs had proved an attraction with guests coming from across Scotland and northern England to use them.
The new £1.25m extension would replace a two-storey and single-storey area of the hotel with a three-storey extension with balconies and hot tubs in each of nine new rooms.
Councillor Donna Collins, ward member for Dunbar and East Linton, called in the application, which was recommended for approval by officers, over concerns about noise from the hot tubs and the impact on the surrounding area.
She pointed out that each hot tub would use around 800 litres of water which would be changed daily.
She told the committee: “To put it in perspective the white bowsers (tanks) used on farms hold 1,000 litres. If all the tubs are changed every day that is around 7,200 litres of water.”
Councillor Jeremy Findlay said he was not convinced hot tubs were needed to appeal to hotel guests.
He said: “At the end of the day I just feel the hot tubs are unnecessary, I think the hotel will sell the rooms without them.”
Residents who objected to the extension all supported development of the hotel business but said the hot tubs were a concern with fears about noise from their use and the impact on people walking past through the local beauty path the John Muir Way.
Dunbar is the birthplace of world famous naturalist John Muir and one resident said allowing the hot tubs extension to overlook the start of the 215km John Muir Way named in his honour effectively “thumbs its nose up at it.”
Professor John Brennan told the committee that the “wedding cake layer of a building” proposed would be incongruous in its coastal position.
Dunbar Community Council also objected over the impact on the amenity of local residents and additional traffic the additional rooms and a further extension to the hotel’s restaurant, also included in the plans, would have.
Planning convenor Norman Hampshire, ward member, said that the Bayswell Hotel had required significant investment for “a number of years” and the project should be welcomed.
He said: “If we do not get the investment into the hotel we could lose it.
“Hot tubs are a massively desirable thing for hotels to have.”
The committee voted by seven votes to four to approve the extension.