A MAJOR study into active travel has been welcomed by a local councillor who fears Musselburgh will “grind to a halt” unless there are radical transport changes in the town.

Councillor Stuart Currie is urging members of the community to make their views known on the “crucial issue” as the area braces itself for housing expansion.

Jointly funded by East Lothian Council and the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) at a cost of £100,000, the study will look at how to combine new infrastructure into the existing road, cycle and core path networks in Musselburgh.

Mr Currie said: “This is a very real opportunity for the community to make their views known on this crucial issue for our town. We need Musselburgh solutions to Musselburgh problems.

“The status quo is, in my view, not an option and we need to use this chance to shape how our town is able to cope with the thousands of new houses that are hurtling towards us.

“Active travel is crucial in that we must find a way for all modes of transport to be used safely.

“The months and years ahead will require radical change for transport in and through our town but unless these challenges are met then Musselburgh will grind to a halt and become gridlocked, which will have a negative effect on our communities, our environment, our local economy and the people who live here.”

He stressed the need for the active travel study to link up with the East Lothian Local Development Plan transport appraisal, adding: “We will have one go at this.

“In 20 years’ time, people will thank us or curse us – I would like to think they thank us for getting it right.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We are looking to commission a study into the feasibility of future-proofing Musselburgh’s infrastructure for active sustainable modes of travel.

“This includes the feasibility of providing quality direct and preferably off-road links and connections through and within Musselburgh to improve cycle integration with the town’s transport hubs connecting with Edinburgh and beyond.

“The project would also assess the existing infrastructure and how to amalgamate new infrastructure into the existing road, cycle and core path networks. It would also consider synergy with the regeneration of Musselburgh town centre and consult with local stakeholders and interest groups such as community councils, Musselburgh Area Partnership and the East Lothian Local Access Forum and East Lothian Cycle Forum.

“This follows extensive traffic modelling work for the East Lothian Local Development Plan transport appraisal and traffic forecasting over the next 10 years.”

The study also follows separate work including: l The evaluation and recommendation of a new connection between Musselburgh and Portobello; l Segregated Active Travel Corridor for East Lothian, which is a proposal contained in the proposed Local Development Plan promoting a priority route for pedestrians and cyclists, generally following the A199 corridor and link the western boundary with Edinburgh through to Dunbar; l The development of a new “sustainable travel option” between Pinkie and High Street in Musselburgh which will be looked at as part of the active travel study; l Core path development; l Musselburgh town centre enhancement works, which include work which has previously taken place to reconfigure the parking and pedestrian areas outside the Tolbooth/High Street area. Other smaller path projects which have taken place as a result of new housing already built in the Musselburgh area.

The council spokesperson added: “We are also at the very early stages of looking at a Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme and will provide updates as this progresses.”

Councillor Norman Hampshire, cabinet spokesperson for environment, said: “I warmly welcome plans for this study, which will look at the existing infrastructure which exists in Musselburgh and consider how any new infrastructure for sustainable travel could be incorporated in future.”