For 15 years, the Drem-Gullane Path Campaign has been calling for an off-road path to take pedestrians and cyclists away from the busy B1377. However, a study carried out last year for East Lothian Council by Peter Brett Associates found that the project was not currently viable for the council to take on.
It had built up support from a cross-section of the community and Cala Homes (East) has now agreed to build the first stretch. A ceremony has been held to commemorate the start of the works on the path near Cala's Marine Rise development.
In the coming weeks Cala will build the first-quarter mile, of a one mile stretch starting from the corner of Fenton Road and Main Street, eventually stretching the length of the C111 to West Fenton. Cala is simultaneously progressing plans for the remaining first phase, with the path also continuing on land at upcoming developments Fentoun Meadow and Saltcoats.
Jordon McKenna, site manager at Cala’s Marine Rise development in Gullane, said: “As a responsible developer, we want to be able to bring benefit to the wider community. This path will be a precious resource for locals and visitors. Credit to the campaign group for its persistence and patience, we’re thrilled to be able to play a role in this tangible first build.”
He added: “While we’re still advancing plans for the remainder of the first phase to West Fenton, we must also thank the work and engagement of the various landowners whose land it will traverse – including Luffness Estate and West Fenton farms.”
Spokesperson for the campaign, Iain Monk, said: “We are delighted to finally see the diggers moving in to start work on the first section of the path. This is a significant milestone for our 15-year campaign, which commands widespread support across the community. Pedestrians and cyclists should be able to travel safely between Drem and Gullane, free from the busy and dangerous main road.
“The Drem-Gullane path will transform our coastal communities and the lives of the people who live in them. It will also attract visitors to the area, which will be good news for local shops, pubs and restaurants.”
Kenny MacAskill, MP for East Lothian, said: "This is great news. Safe, family-friendly active travel options are essential for both commuters and citizens alike. This new pathway will be good for the health of local residents and our environment. Campaigners, Cala and local landowners are to be commended for making it happen. After declaring a climate emergency seven months ago, East Lothian Council must act now and ensure the remaining sections of the path to Drem are delivered as a matter of urgency."