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'Longest dispute in Scottish history' as council and landowners remain at loggerheads over route...

Politicians have backed campaigners calling for a cycle path on a dangerous main road in Scotland, with landowners and the local council at loggerheads over the route.

George Kerevan, East Lothian SNP MP, said he would offer "unqualified support” for the route linking Gullane and Drem, whose final mile is still in dispute.

The local authority has said that its powers are limited to resolve the problems.

Mr Kerevan told the Herald: “The campaign to establish a safe cycle path between Gullane and Drem would benefit the safety and enjoyment of local cyclists and motorists.

"The completion of this path would be an excellent addition to an already extensive network of cycling paths in East Lothian.

"The fact that this specific part of the project is not finished displays a failure of the council to take the initiative and come to a suitable resolution for all stakeholders.”

At the end of last year more than 60 campaigners walked the route, which would also be used by pedestrians, to highlight the issue, which has dragged on for more than 10 years.

East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray added that "people are not going to give up on this".

He said: "We need to keep working on this and give communities what they want and need.”

The council has ruled out a route offered by one landowner across his fields as too expensive, but Iain Monk, campaign spokesman, said the council had already spent £5,000 on preparatory work, and there was a pot of around £30,000 for the path’s completion.

The council said it has "held numerous discussions with landowners, local householders, East Lothian Local Access Forum and a range of community groups and individuals including the Gullane – Drem campaign group over the past eight years to secure this core path but unfortunately consensus between the various stakeholders has not been reached"

“Options including alternative routes have also been rejected.

“The council remains committed to supporting this proposed route but until consensus can be reached this route cannot be secured.”

The dispute is said to be one of the longest-running modern right of way battles in Scotland.

Campaigners said the dispute is “the outstanding blot on the landscape from the Land Reform Act” adding it is “astonishing that it is still going on now and that it’s all over a tiny final section – less than a mile, or 300 metres by the most direct link”.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.