A FOOTPATH linking homes in the south of Dunbar to a new platform at the town’s railway station could be in place by early next year.

East Lothian Council is busy drawing up plans for the footpath, which could be used by cyclists and pedestrians, while negotiating with the landowner.

Work to build a new 271-metre second platform to the south of the railway line got under way in May.

Network Rail expect the £13 million scheme – which also includes a fully accessible steel footbridge, with lifts for disabled access, linking the two platforms – to be complete by the end of November.

When plans were revealed, a number of members of the public questioned why pedestrian access from the south to the new platform was not being created as well.

Now, ward councillor Norman Hampshire, the local authority’s environment spokesman, has confirmed that plans are being drawn up to address the issue.

He said: “We are getting an agreement from Network Rail that they will accept an access from the south to the new platform.

“We tried to do that at the time when the planning application for the platform was lodged but they were already putting a bridge across and felt people would get access, but they have agreed it would be better for customers to get access from the south.”

East Lothian Council confirmed it was in negotiations with land owners about taking ownership of the land, with a view to creating the new footpath.

The pedestrian link would require a planning application, which would go out for public consultation.

It could then be approved before the completion of construction work at the platform.

Work on the new pedestrian link could then begin in early 2020.

Mr Hampshire noted that the design could feature a ramp which would be suitable for wheelchair users to access the platform as well.

The councillor stressed that there were issues to be addressed, including looking at what could be done to stop people from parking their cars on the residential streets near the new platform.

However, he hoped that would be ironed out during the planning process.

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of the town’s community council, felt that it was a sensible move to include access from the south as well as the footbridge.

She said: “The community council has been pushing for that from the very first time the bridge was proposed and the new platform was proposed.

“A huge number of people plainly live on that side of the railway track and giving them easy, safe access has to be the right answer.”

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council stressed that a planning application for the work would only be submitted if the council were able to secure the land.

She told the Courier: “We are currently negotiating with a number of parties to secure the land required to create a path that would connect the new platform at Dunbar station with the south side of the town.

“As this is part of an ongoing commercial process, it would be inappropriate for council officers to comment further at this time.”