A NORTH Berwick resident has started a petition calling for the town’s High Street be pedestrianised.

Rachael Revesz, 31, said that pedestrianisation would “boost our economy and tourism, improve our residents’ mental and physical health, and could improve disabled access”.

She added that her home town had “expanded rapidly over the last decade”, and the town centre had become “noisy and stressful, making it hard to walk along the narrow pavements with a pet, with young children, with a bike or wheelchair”.

She asked an architect friend to draw a vision of what a fully pedestrianised North Berwick High Street could look like.

Rachael said the design showed “access for all” and would allow for social distancing.

It featured a paved surface which would be shared by all, including disabled drivers and delivery vans; space for outdoor seating and market produce; space for those with pets and those who use wheelchairs and buggies; and would increase community spirit.

She had spoken to a dozen local retailers about the idea and she said they were in support of change.

Rachael added: “Any suggestion that retailers are ‘against’ pedestrianisation is not true.

“Some suggested doing it on a trial basis/seasonal or allowing in delivery vans or drivers at set times.”

The petition, which has so far attracted more than 230 signatures, can be viewed at www.change.org/p/east-lothian-council-pedestrianise-north-berwick-high-street

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “Concerns and suggestions about a range of traffic measures in the town of North Berwick have been discussed in recent years by the community council, area partnership and through a charrette.

“East Lothian Council will continue to engage with a range of stakeholders regarding temporary changes to the town’s infrastructure for Spaces for People, which focuses on protecting public health, supporting social distancing and preventing a second wave of the [coronavirus] outbreak.

“Residents and businesses are encouraged to share their views with their local community groups.”

Jeremy Findlay, ward councillor, said: “Pedestrianisation was one of many options considered by the charrette and rejected in favour of the agreed experimental order that was due to be implemented this year but delayed by the Covid-19 crisis.

“The Spaces for People plan, of which phase two is now being consulted on with various North Berwick groups, will provide short-term and temporary solutions to deal with social distancing and hopefully provide residents with the confidence to return to the High Street.

“Longer term, we have to look at the whole gamut of solutions for North Berwick, of which pedestrianisation is one of many options but also includes more parking for both residents and visitors whilst ensuring that there is no detrimental impact on business owners in the town.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in this debate via various organisations like the community council and try and get some form of consensus.”