TEMPORARY changes to the layout of Haddington town centre – including the loss of parking spaces on Market Street – are being weighed up as East Lothian comes out of lockdown.

East Lothian Council is considering a wide range of proposals across each of the county’s major towns in a bid to ensure physical distancing in the streets.

It is hoped that the measures will “enhance opportunities” for walking and cycling, while supporting the reopening of businesses.

Already, a town-wide 20mph speed limit has been introduced in Haddington, with the council now looking at potential changes in the town centre.

Among the measures under consideration are:

l On the north side of High Street (between Broad Wynd and towards the former George Hotel), where the road is wide, move parking spaces into the carriageway. This will widen the pavement area;

l On the south side of High Street, widen the pavement at the western end;

l Re-configure parking on Market Street to increase space available for pedestrians (loss of four parking spaces);

l Alter pedestrian crossings to minimise wait time for pedestrians;

l Re-configure Station Road/Hope Park junction to create more space for pedestrians;

l Introduce footpath ‘build-outs’ on West Road to provide refuges for pedestrians to step into and let others pass, and also contribute to reducing vehicle speeds;

l Introduce footpath ‘build-outs’ on Pencaitland Road to contribute to reducing vehicle speeds.

A spokeswoman for the local authority told the Courier: “The vast majority of car parking spaces in Haddington town centre will continue to be available for use, with additional spaces currently available at John Muir House while many council staff continue to work remotely.”

Other measures to be explored before the end of the year include the installation of a public e-bike (electronic bike) hire station for eight bicycles on Court Street.

As the town gets busier and with pupils returning to school, other options – re-configuring Hardgate/Victoria Terrace signals to create more space for pedestrians and closing Tynebank Road to through traffic to facilitate walking to school – will also be explored.

East Lothian Courier:

Jim Graham, from the town’s community council and Haddington Business Community Partnership, felt that there were some positive aspects to the proposals.

He backed the aspects which would make it safer for youngsters walking to and from school but added: “Leave High Street alone”.

Mr Graham said: “We are getting lots of customers but they are coming direct to get a service, to get a watch battery or gift, to get their television repaired, buy a newspaper or get a haircut.

“They come to Haddington for that purpose.

“I don’t think people want to have barriers up or cones out.

“We want to make it easy for people to access High Street.”

Mr Graham has also been in touch with the town’s four councillors – Shamin Akhtar, Craig Hoy, John McMillan and Tom Trotter – as well as council staff, urging them to meet with traders to discuss the issue.