Midlothian Council is still unable to remove the barricade on the route between Cairnbank Road and Penicuik Estate, after the landowners appealed the latest court decision allowing the local authority to remove it.
The council intends to defend the appeal. Until the appeal process has been dealt with by the court, the local authority is unable to remove the barricade which has angered locals.
Midlothian Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for open spaces, Councillor John Hackett (Lab) said: “We intend to defend the appeal. Until the appeal process has been dealt with by the court, the council is unable to take steps to have the obstruction removed.”
In June 2016 the route was blocked by the local residents. Over 100 public complaints were then received by the council. There was also a petition signed by local residents wishing the path be re-opened.
After a meeting in July 2016 the Midlothian Access Forum requested the council take steps to re-open the route. Since then the council has been in negotiation with the residents and their lawyers, and it made them aware of the advice they had received. In February 2017, a Section 14 Notice was served on the landowners to remove the obstruction and signage.
The landowners lodged an appeal with the Sheriff Court in March 2017. This was defended by the council, and a Proof took place before Sheriff Reith.
The court heard evidence from witnesses in November 2017 and January 2018, with submissions heard also in June 2018.
On September 6 2018, the judgement in the case was published. On October 22 the landowners lodged an appeal with the Sheriff Court Appeal court, seeking to overturn the Sheriff’s judgement of September 6.