East Lothian gets almost ten times more funding than Midlothian

Saturday July 11th 2020

Dalkeith Town Centre

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

More than £150,000 has been awarded to Midlothian Council to fund six projects aimed at creating social distancing in town centres and improving pedestrian routes. However, neighbouring East Lothian council has been awarded £1.4 million for a number of temporary measures throughout the county.

Midlothian had applied for a total of £208,000 funding for 14 projects from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People programme, which is being overseen by Sustrans Scotland.

However, only six of the projects received funding, which totals £157,293.

Midlothian is now planning a second bid for money from the Scottish Government fund. A meeting on the bid is being held next week.

The projects with approved money in Midlothian include moves to temporarily remove on-street parking in town centres and divert vehicles to car parks, as well as placing barriers in busy shopping areas to assist social distancing and creating a “Covid-19 cycle route” between Dalkeith and Pathhead.

The town centres which will be transformed under the programme are Dalkeith, Loanhead, Gorebridge and Bonnyrigg.

Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders are being used to suspend parking on the streets and signs will direct vehicles to five car parks with instructions about new parking limits in place to compensate for the loss of on-street spaces, with more than £65,000 of the funding allocated to the changes.

The Dalkeith to Pathhead cycle route will be distinguished with signs asking drivers to slow down, and come after bus services between the two communities were suspended.

The council said that it did not know when the bus service would be reinstated and banning vehicles from the road or reducing the speed limit had been deemed “neither enforceable nor effective”.

Instead it said: “We propose signage designating this as a Covid-19 cycle route, asking drivers to ‘slow’ and ‘give cyclists space’.

“The sign prompts drivers to consider cyclists, to slow down and give them space.”

Just over £3,000 has been committed to the new cycle route.

About £11,000 of the funding will be used to help people social distance on footpaths across the county by cutting back vegetation where it has made two-metre distancing impossible.

A further £24,200 will be used to improve and widen parts of the path between Easthouses Road and Waterfall Park in Dalkeith.

Nearly £47,000 will be used to widen and resurface the path between Eastfield Industrial Estate and Beeslack High School via Beeslack Woods in Penicuik.

The remaining £7,297 is being used to produce signs which will go up across paths and footways in Midlothian reminding people to social distance.

Work on the approved projects is now taking place over the next six weeks.

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