ScotWays has been contacted by many people concerned by the recent installation of a fence and locked gate at Cairnbank Road. Access is presently blocked along the route which links Cairnbank Road to the network of paths in the Penicuik House estate. Although this route does not appear to meet the criteria to be a public right of way and is not designated by Midlothian Council as a core path, it is promoted as a local walk and is clearly popular given the volume of complaints we have received. We consider that access rights under the terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 apply. Such access must be exercised responsibly, which includes not interfering with occupants’ reasonable privacy.

Midlothian Council has power under the above Act to do something about the removal of the blockage.  As such, we encourage anyone affected by this issue to contact the Council’s Access Officer, John Park, to express their concern –

The latest information we have received is that the Council has written to the owners of the fence requesting its removal, and they are also contacting the owner of the gate at the other end of the route to ask for the signage which does not comply with the Land Reform legislation to be removed. As at least one of the owners is contesting the right to responsible access on grounds of privacy, this will have to be considered by the Council’s lawyers. As a result, the Council does not expect the matter to be resolved quickly, but in view of the amount of correspondence received, they are actively working on this case.