PLANTERS have been installed at the Promenade in Musselburgh in a bid to create a safer and more pleasant experience for all by separating traffic and pedestrians.

The move follows public consultation carried out by Fisherrow Harbour & Seafront Association (FHSA) in February and March.

Veronica Noone, group vice-chairperson, said: “Increasing numbers of people using the seafront and harbour area have meant that cars and people regularly have to move in the same area, creating unnecessary risk for parents with buggies, children and people with mobility difficulties.

“Covid has compounded the challenge, with more and more people visiting the area than before and, whilst this is a welcome development, it has thrown the idea of pedestrians potentially being hit by cars into sharp relief.”

During February and March, the FHSA trialled the idea by putting up a series of barriers, creating a walkway from the harbour office through to the west side of the Promenade.

At the same time, online feedback was sought via the FHSA Facebook page and posters were attached to the barriers to inform people of the trial and also seek feedback.

East Lothian Courier: Planters have been installed on part of the Promenade to separate pedestrians and vehicles as part of a safe harbour initiative

Ms Noone said: “Unfortunately, the barriers were vandalised and the posters removed so we decided to go down to talk to people in a socially distanced way on the weekend of March 20 and 21.”

Throughout this time, feedback was also received by email in response to the early social media posts and signage. This was published in an FAQs section on the FHSA website at

At the on-site consultation, the map of the safe promenade proposal was shared, and feedback was obtained from about 130 people, including local residents and visitors. Nine groups included one or more people who might have additional access requirements due to disability or age.

The majority of groups indicated that they were supportive of the safe promenade plans. Two groups were not supportive and four were neutral or their overall opinion was unclear. Among those who were neutral or unsupportive, the main issues arising related to the proposed layout of parking on the east prom and lack of awareness that there was a safety issue which needed to be addressed.

Among those who were supportive, impact on the availability of parking near the harbour was raised by 13 groups, with about half noting that they would be concerned about loss of spaces particularly for elderly or disabled visitors. By contrast, others indicated that they supported the plans even with a small loss of parking, with some acknowledging the growth in the area’s popularity. Use of the safe promenade for cycling came up frequently, with some respondents keen to see bikes separated from pedestrians but the majority keen to see ongoing access for cyclists.

Some residents in the immediate area told the Courier they wished the road at the Promenade, which had barriers – now planters – to remain as was it was before, saying it was used as a vehicle turning area by residents, as well as refuse collection and utility vehicles, and emergency services.

Claire Tochel, volunteer seafront manager and association trustee, said: “The majority of people, both locals and visitors, were supportive of the idea of creating a continuous pedestrian path from west to east across the harbour. While there were some who worried about the loss of car parking spaces, a similar number felt that losing a few spaces was better than continuing to mix people with traffic.”

She explained that the temporary barriers on the east prom had now been replaced by wooden planters which were less susceptible to being blown over by strong winds but were still movable. It was felt they were also “more visible and robust”, ensuring that the layout for parking and the turning circle at the end of the prom was clearer.

East Lothian Courier: A 'No Parking - Turning Area' has been created on the Promenade. A meeting recently took place with East Lothian Council's waste services to confirm that the layout was adequate for refuse services.

The association said that the planters were a first phase and some allocated parking space had been kept in the area.

Dr Tochel added: “This will be monitored, as a concern is that parking spaces will still attract traffic and congestion along the Promenade. Signage may be needed to make it clear that space is more limited.”

Once the yachts and boats were back in the water for the spring/summer season, the next step would be to complete the area to the south of the harbour, terminating at the height barrier to the west of the harbour for now.

Dr Tochel added: “Realistically, with funds we have available, that’s all achievable in the next months.

“This does complete a safe walkway from the west to the east of the harbour.

“Further investment will be needed to change the road layout to the west of the harbour and it may be that we need to wait for further investment to complete this phase.”

FHSA is inviting people to ‘Adopt a Planter’ for 2021, during which time they can fill it with their own choice of plants. If this is a successful initiative, planters will be reallocated each year to interested parties. Applications can be made and more information found at

East Lothian Courier: People are being invited to 'Adopt a Planter' on part of the Promenade

Ward councillor John Williamson said: “Given the increase in pedestrian use of outdoor areas due to Covid, the idea of looking to have defined pedestrian walking spaces within the harbour/Promenade area is one well worth exploring.

“Currently at the Promenade end there is no definition of what is roadway and what is footpath – this can sometimes cause conflict between cars and people. At the harbour area, cars and pedestrians share much of the same space – having the space clearly defined would, I believe, make the area safer for all concerned.

“The temporary barriers were a good way to show people what was being proposed; much better than looking at diagrams. I understand that all comments made relating to the proposals will fully be considered and, hopefully, any solution reached will be to the satisfaction of both locals and visitors.”

Ward councillor Andy Forrest added: “I am quite pleased with the way the group’s working. They have been out and spoken to people. Everything that has been put in is temporary and people can adopt the planters, for example, in memory of a loved one and take grandchildren down to show them. It is creating a safe haven and the flowers will provide some colour in the area.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The planters at Fisherrow Promenade are part of temporary Spaces for People measures, a Scottish Government initiative implemented by East Lothian Council to ensure that people can move around safely and are able to keep a suitable distance from others as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The planning authority was consulted and, because they are part of these temporary, emergency measures, they do not require planning permission. In other circumstances, whether planning permission was required for planters installed in our towns and villages would depend on a range of factors including their size and whether or not they would be a permanent fixture.”

FHSA continues to publish updates on the Safe Promenade trial and to seek views on its website –