CYCLE lanes, wider pavements and fewer parking spaces are among temporary plans being considered by East Lothian Council to allow social distancing in town centres.

The local authority has been given £1.4million of Scottish Government funding to allow it to transform its high streets and bring shoppers back.

However, the plans have sparked concern among some residents, who questioned whether the council would use the money to introduce long-term changes proposed before lockdown which brought mixed reactions form the public.

One person on social media accused them of using a “back door to get what they want”.

While Haddington councillor Craig Hoy warned that improvements had to be made without creating unnecessary restrictions

He said: “It is important that our high streets are capable of allowing pedestrians to be able to socially distance, giving people the confidence to get out and about.

“But, at the same time, it’s important we don’t impose unnecessary restrictions or reduce parking provision in a way which is detrimental to trade.

“We need to strike a careful balance here and ensure the interventions are proportionate.”

The local authority launched its bid for funds from the Spaces for People Fund last month with a public consultation online.

It drew just under 3,000 responses, with 756 detailed comments about improvements for town centres and roads.

Although the funding is for temporary measures, the online questionnaire asked those taking part if they would support changes “long term”.

Many people who took part in the survey called for pavements to be widened and speed reductions on some streets, as well as improved cycle lanes and footpaths.

The council initially said it was applying for £350,000 from the Spaces for People Fund but has revealed it received nearly four times the original amount.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute council leader and environment spokesperson, said: “The £1.4m funding will enable East Lothian Council to introduce a number of temporary measures to our streets as further easing of lockdown restrictions are applied.

“Many local shops are re-opening for business and these temporary changes are focused on protecting public health by providing necessary space for continued observance of physical distancing whilst supporting businesses and their customers.

“Whilst planning these new temporary changes, we have taken into account the diverse needs of local communities to ensure as much as possible that those with mobility or sight concerns will be as supported as able-bodied individuals.

“These measures will create space for everyone, whether on foot, bike, wheelchair or using prams and buggies, and will support the initial stages of local economic recovery.”

The council said detailed plans of the changes to be introduced were still being discussed and no maps or additional information were currently available.

However, it said a staged approach would be taken, with measures to be introduced including temporary widening of some footways, 20mph speed limits, some segregated space for cycling and opportunities for businesses to use pavement space for customer queuing.

Some parking spaces within town centres may be temporarily removed.