East Lothian Conservatives to bring forward motion against Johnnie Cope Road closure
The East Lothian’s Conservative Council group are bringing forward a motion ahead of the next full meeting of East Lothian Council which calls for the proposed closure of Johnnie Cope Road to all road traffic between Prestonpans and Tranent to be scrapped.
The road closure has been strongly opposed by local residents who have set up an active campaign to stop the road from being closed by East Lothian Council.
Councillor Lachlan Bruce, East Lothian’s Conservative group leader and the ward councillor for Preston, Seton and Gosford ward recently sent out surveys to residents of Prestonpans which has so far received over 200 responses, with well over 90% stating that they are opposed to the proposed road closure.
The survey also asked residents to suggest ways that Johnnie Cope Road could be improved and made safer. Suggestions such as making the road one way, the introduction of traffic lights at the bridge over the A1, widening the bridge and road alongside other suggestions were made by local residents.
As it currently stands East Lothian Council officers are proposing that the road be closed for regular road traffic and limited to those living on the road in some circumstances and the emergency services.
Commenting on the situation, Cllr Bruce said: “Having heard from local residents from across Prestonpans, it is very clear that the vast majority of residents are opposed to the closure of the Johnnie Cope Road between Prestonpans and Tranent. I strongly believe that before any further decisions are taken about closing Johnnie Cope Road, a proper assessment of the alternatives must be considered, including traffic lights and works to widen the road and/or bridge.
“The main issue with the road appears to be the bridge, I think it is important and only right that we seek to engage with the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland as the owners of the bridge, and seek their input as to how the road can be kept open.”
The motion, due to be discussed at the full council meeting on Tuesday 25th April, is being supported by South Scotland MSP Craig Hoy, who said: “Johnnie Cope Road is a vital link for residents in both Tranent and Prestonpans. The road takes traffic away from Bankton Junction and Strawberry Corner roundabout, and it is a convenient link for commuters looking to use Prestonpans railway station and travel between the towns, cutting down car emissions and congestion at peak times. I will be seeking to engage with the Scottish Government in Parliament on this matter as I believe they should play a part in coming up with a solution that works for all users.”
The motion which has been submitted, reads that the Council:
“Notes that there has been a significant community response following the launch of the consultation on the closure of the Johnnie Cope Road between Prestonpans and Tranent;
“Understands that there has been a lot of opposition to the closure of the road from various community sources including but not limited to Prestonpans Community Council and Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council;
“Believes that the connections between the communities in East Lothian are vital in particular in the areas where our county is growing most rapidly;
“Calls for the current consultation and legal process to be halted to allow for more detailed and robust research into any potential negative impacts closing this road might have on local communities and to explore alternative proposals, such as the installation of traffic lights at the bridge on Johnnie Cope Road to happen and reported back to council;
“Further notes that the bridge on the A1 is in the ownership of Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government and requests that the Chief Executive and Leader of East Lothian write to Transport Scotland and the relevant Scottish Government ministers to request support to upgrade the bridge over the A1 on Johnnie Cope Road and to request a cross party meeting with ministers to discuss the various infrastructure needs of East Lothian given proposed scale of housing growth.”
The motion is being proposed by Councillor Bruce and will be seconded by Councillor Jeremy Findlay.