A MINOR road linking Prestonpans to Tranent is due to close to through traffic – three decades later than planned.

East Lothian Council is applying to close Johnnie Cope’s Road, a popular route to Prestonpans train station and used as a shortcut between Prestonpans and the Tranent areas.

The road was due to close in the mid-1990s after the Tranent bypass section of the A1 was completed.

However, a report last week to East Lothian Council’s cabinet said that the former Lothian Regional Council, the responsible local authority at the time, never introduced the proper regulations.

Councillors have now approved a plan to apply for traffic orders to shut the road, with vehicle access blocked from the Tranent end and only available from Prestonpans for a short distance to allow traffic to reach Prestonpans rail station’s overspill car park and nearby houses.

A council spokesman said: “At the time of construction of the A1 bypass, a farm accommodation bridge [over the bypass] was put in place. At the time, the former Lothian Regional Council intended to close the road to traffic and redetermine the road for pedestrians and cyclists only. The relevant order was not promoted and put in place at the time, and it is now proposed that this is implemented in the interests of safety.”

The council also agreed to apply for traffic orders for a range of restrictions, including introducing yellow lines in the long-stay car park near Tesco Haddington, making a trial 20mph speed limit in Dunbar permanent, and introducing 40mph speed limits around 60mph roads approaching the new town of Blindwells. The orders will now go out for public consultation and are likely to take 18 months to implement if approved.

The road is named after Sir John Cope, whose government forces were defeated at the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans by Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites, before Cope fled to Berwick-upon-Tweed.