Call to stop controversial road closure after public protests

The Johnnie Cope's Road, which links the towns of Tranent and Prestonpans, was due to be shut more than 30 years ago.

Call to stop controversial Tranent to Prestonpans Johnnie Cope’s Road closure after public protests Google Maps

Controversial plans to close a road originally due to be shut off more than 30 years ago should be halted amid public outcry, the leader of East Lothian council has said.

Officers have prepared a report on the next stage to shut the Johnnie Cope’s Road, which links the towns of Tranent and Prestonpans, and are due to be put before councillors for approval on Tuesday.

However council leader Norman Hampshire intends to bring a motion, on behalf of the Labour administration, calling for the road to remain open and calling on officers to find a way to improve it.

The motion, which is signed by the council leader and local ward councillor Colin Yorkston, comes after councillor Hampshire delayed a decision on the closure in April this year asking officers to prepare a detailed report into it.

Originally due to close when the A1 bypass opened in the eighties after the road was deemed ‘unnecessary’, the legislation was never fully introduced and the road remained open to traffic.

East Lothian Council officials revived plans to close Johnnie Cope’s Road between the towns of Tranent and Prestonpans at the end of last year.

At the time a council spokesperson said the road was “never intended to take the volume and type of traffic currently using it” however the move led to protests from local residents.

In the motion to go before council on Tuesday, councillor Hampshire says that after considering the views of the local communities and advice from council officers the Labour Group are proposing to support improvements to the road and recommending the statutory process be stopped.

He added: “This has been a difficult decision due to the current financial pressures on the “council’s roads budget.”

The group motion recommends officers come back to a future council meeting with recommendations for improvements to the active travel routes between Prestonpans and Tranent including the installation of lights on the Meadowmill underpass.

Councillor Yorkston added: “I know how important this issue is to the local community.

“After looking at the response to the public consultation and listening to the views of the local communities, I want to see the road kept open.

“I believe that this is the best option to take.”

Opposition Conservative group leader Lachlan Bruce has also lodged a motion against the closure which he brought to the April meeting of the council but which was delayed after the call for a further report.

At the time he accused the administration of “sticking their fingers in their ears” and ignoring public opinion.

He said: “The views of the majority in Prestonpans on the future of the road is clear.”

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