MAJOR changes to the layout of the east end of North Berwick High Street are set for a one-year trial in a bid to improve pedestrian safety.

They centre on widening the narrow pavements, primarily achieved through the loss of parking spaces.

The plans were agreed by the Charrette Implementation Group, a sub-group of North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership.

The changes aim to enhance pedestrian safety, accessibility and improve parking from Market Place up to and including Quality Street and Kirk Ports.

Increasing the turnover of parking spaces in the town centre and the amount of short-stay parking are also key goals.

A low-level kerb would be introduced on the widened pavements and 30-minute short stay parking enforced.

Long-stay spaces in Law Road car park would become short-stay 90-minute ‘no return’ berths while additional parking would be created on Quality Street.

East Lothian Courier:

These plans for North Berwick High Street show existing parking (top image) and proposed parking (bottom) under the plans. Key: green – no restriction; yellow – 90 mins no return; orange – 30 mins no return. Image: East Lothian Council

Hilary Smith, area partnership chairperson, said: “We are committed to making North Berwick town centre more accessible, safer and a more pleasant place to be for everyone.

“The North Berwick Town Centre Charrette, held in 2017, provided us with a roadmap to address some of the issues faced by our busy High Street.

“While High Street is a fantastic place to live, work or visit, its narrowness at points can be challenging for some pedestrians, particularly with close proximity to vehicles.

“After nearly 18 months of deliberation, the North Berwick Charrette Implementation Group has agreed that it would be appropriate to test the effectiveness of a number of measures aimed at enhancing the east end of High Street for the benefit of all users. We want to enhance the local environment and help support the economy.

“These improvements are being led by local people who have worked together to put things in place. The Charrette showed what the community wants from its town centre – our goal is to provide it.”

About 50 metres of existing parking space would be removed from outside the following shops on the south side of High Street: Paper Flower; TSB Bank; Barker & Bone pet shop; Oxfam; L’Argenette jewellery; and Great Escape. While about 20 metres of parking across the road outside the police station would also be off-limits to cars to form a “community space”, possibly including picnic tables.

Ten metres of new parking would be added outside Tiffany’s cafe and AC Styling.

While 20 metres of parking space – with 90-minute waiting – would be created on Quality Street.

The section of road outside the former County Hotel would be painted with a single yellow line, indicating a no waiting time between 8.30am and 5.30pm Monday-Saturday.

Pavements are set to be widened from the Quality Street junction to Greggs and Great Escape by applying a low-level kerb. They would be widened to 1.5 metres outside the Post Office and Tippecanoe, 1.8m outside Bella Italia and Oxfam, and 2.5m outside Greggs.

East Lothian Courier:

These drawings and images show the proposed changes to the east end of North Berwick High Street. Shaded in pink are the widened footways, while also marked (in yellow) are where yellow lines will be added. Some parking spaces will be removed.

A drop-in event is being held next Thursday (February 27) to allow members of the public to see the plans. It is held in the small hall of North Berwick Community Centre, 4-7pm.

The plans are likely to be trialled for 12 months before being put in place through an experimental traffic regulation order arranged by East Lothian Council.

During this time, the council will monitor the effectiveness of the measures.

It is hoped the trial will begin this spring but no start date has been confirmed. After any trial period ends, another consultation will be held. If feedback from the new parking restrictions is positive, moves would be made to make the changes permanent.

The Charrette Implementation Group is made up of representatives of the area partnership’s ‘on the move’ group, traders, representatives from North Berwick Community Council, Cycleforth, members of the community, and representatives from East Lothian Council.

A council spokesperson said: “The area partnership has announced that a series of measures will be tested to enhance pedestrian safety, accessibility and improve parking in and around the east end of High Street.

“We are liaising with the area partnership on this and the intention is to prepare a draft experimental traffic regulation order for consultation. This would enable the proposals to be introduced on a trial basis for up to 12 months.”