Cyclist’s fury at never ending path closure

Local cyclist Simon Bush at the cycle path in Dalkeith's Ironmills Park at the steps which remains closed.
Local cyclist Simon Bush at the cycle path in Dalkeith's Ironmills Park at the steps which remains closed.

A cyclist is angry at the continued closure of a path in Ironmills Park, Dalkeith, which has been hit by subsidence issues in recent years.

Simon Bush (61) from Gorebridge, a retired HGV driver who now cares full-time for his son, regularly enjoys cycling. However, he has become increasingly frustrated by the closure at Ironmills Steps, a key route between Midlothian and East Lothian for cyclists, leading over the North Esk in Dalkeith, connecting the Water Tower House to Ironmills Park.

Four years ago it was closed due to subsidence, and although it has opened briefly since, the fence blocking the path for the latest work still states “due to open Spring 2017”, which Simon believes has come and gone

He said: “This link from Dalkeith is sorely missed by walkers, cyclists and users of Ironmills Park. It’s isolated the park for pedestrians. Cars can get access but I thought the idea was to do less with cars?

“My neighbour and I have got folding bikes and sometimes go round from Saltersgate to Whitecraig, but you can’t go through at Lugton. You have to cut through the cemetery, if you come to the other gate at the foot of the High Street then you have all those cobbles.”

Simon believes this issue highlights the need for more paths in Midlothian.

He said: “The Borders Railway’s return also took away a big section of pathways from Eskbank to Hardengreen and Eskbank to Sherrifhall roundabout. I thought we were supposed to be more eco friendly and do more exercise and leave their cars at home. Midlothian Council has done very little for cyclists and walkers...” They would do well to take a look at what East Lothian, the Borders and Edinburgh have done in regards to safety and accessibility. With a great network of safe off road connecting pathways for cyclists and walkers.”

A council spokesman said: “While the majority of the slope is stable, there’s still some issues with water so we’re monitoring the site currently. The next survey is week beginning May 22. We want to assure residents it will be open as soon as possible and we thank everyone for their patience.

“As for cycle routes, due to the re-opening of the Borders Railway an alternative cycle route via Eskbank Station, Edinburgh College, Ancrum Bank, St David’s, Waterfall Park and Woodburn was constructed and the final ‘missing link’ at the new housing opposite Edinburgh College is expected to be completed in the next few months.

“We’re also prioritising funding and planning gain to achieve safe, off-road, multi-user paths connecting between local communities, employment centres and schools in Midlothian. For several years, we’ve also been campaigning for the completion of the cycle route between Roslin and Shawfair. Now, the charity to promote sustainable travel, Sustrans is looking to construct the path during 2017/18.”