THE end could finally be in sight for a long-running campaign to provide a safe walking route between Gullane and Drem.

Campaigners have been fighting for more than a decade to see a route between the two villages, which would keep cyclists and walkers away from the busy B1345.

Now community activists claim that a four-mile bike-friendly link is “within touching distance”.

A landowner has offered land for the final mile-long section to Drem, with East Lothian Council hiring consultants to prepare a feasibility study and design options. Campaigners, housebuilders CALA Homes, the council and the partners of West Fenton Farm are discussing options for the remaining three miles to Gullane, which may include reduced speed limits, traffic-calming measures and an off-road path.

Iain Monk, campaign spokesman, said: “We are within touching distance of securing a safe link connecting Gullane and Drem.

“This will be a fantastic asset for East Lothian and we have overwhelming support throughout the community.

“Safety is the key concern for families and commuters. To allay those fears, it is vital to have walking and cycling infrastructure suitable for people of all ages and abilities.

“We are encouraged by the goodwill that exists from everyone.

“Our councillors are very supportive and we have received great cooperation from a landowner, CALA Homes, and the partners at West Fenton Farm.”

Peter Hawkins, Spokes Lothian Cycle Campaign, said: “Spokes congratulates the long-running campaign for a safe cycle and pedestrian route to link Drem and its railway station to the large settlement of Gullane, to benefit both local residents and visitors. The latest progress is very welcome after a long, hard fight.

“At present the only routes linking Drem and Gullane involve the busy, fast and narrow B1345, but this new link would open up a range of options and circular routes.

“The involvement of house-builders to create links in Gullane is also very welcome.

“We understand they are working closely with local cyclists and we hope this will ensure that the routes are as useful as possible and their specifications are of a high standard.”

Suzanne Forup, head of development Scotland for Cycling UK, said: “Links like the one planned between Gullane and Drem are vital to enable safe and active travel between our towns and villages in rural Scotland.

“The DG Core Path group should be commended for their steadfast campaign to find a suitable route to link the two villages, allowing safer travel for everyone in the area.”