CONTROVERSIAL work to provide a ‘solid surface’ to a popular walking route has been scrapped.

Upgrades to Becky’s Strip, near Whitekirk, were due to start on Tuesday but have now been cancelled after a meeting between council officials, councillors and objectors.

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman told the Courier the work would “not now be carried out”.

The council had planned to provide a more solid surface, which would allow cyclists to use the popular path.

The route would not have been concrete or tarmac but instead the surface would be “improved by using the existing material and adding hard core and crushing and rolling the surface to provide a flat, tactile surface which is recommended by equine groups and is a method of path creation used in farms for all hoofed animals”.

This would then fall in line with a number of other paths across the county.

When the suggestion was made, there were no objections.

However, Francis Bakker, spokeswoman for the group campaigning against the proposed work, said that local cyclists, walkers and riders had not been asked what they thought about the works.

“We were told days before work was due to begin that the council were ripping this whole beautiful grassy walkway up and replacing it with a three-wide concrete route,” she said.

“Why should there be an expectation that you can cycle along a concrete path in the middle of our stunning East Lothian countryside?” The changes would have cost £75,000.

Sustrans, the country’s leading charity in enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport, had agreed to pay half of that – £37,500.

Then, Scottish National Heritage would also have contributed to the work, with the local authority paying what was left.

Ms Bakker added: “We have spoken to hundreds of local people and we have not met one person who is in favour of this extreme measure of ripping up our countryside for no good reason.

“Walkers love strolling along this beautiful area, it is a much-loved route for cyclists and it is a very popular route for local riders.

“We consider the council have been both arrogant and negligent in failing to consult local users about the future of this path.” The Courier spoke to Ms Bakker on Wednesday after the decision was made to cancel the expected work.

She said: “It is absolutely fantastic news.

“It just shows you, [East Lothian Council] cannot bypass the locals when they want to make changes to something so important to us.”