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Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian


Postby dickens96 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:39 pm

The landowner - Robbie Douglas-Miller - has decided to close the access to the small car park by the filter houses on the way to Hopes reservoir and then on to Lammer Law etc. He cites car parking issues this Summer - normally it is fairly deserted there - and says he will do some essential work so has closed it from November to February before reopening it with access by permit only "for local people" (like who?) In effect this closes access for many people - me included - to the lovely resevroir and hill walks that start from there. It seems to me a very ill-thought out action. Stopping parking in the car park and field opposite will mean walkers will have to park on the verges which is the very thing he is complaining about. The road in from Longyester is single track with virtually no safe places to park. I know Ramblers Scotland are concerned, but East Lothian Council seem to have acquiesced with this saying there is no responsibility on the landowner to provide car parking. I think they could have asked him to take a more constructive approach and come up with alternative solutions. Already there have been cases of people parking on the verges where they can - safely - and returning to find stickers telling them not to return stuck to their car windows with super glue.

I thought this is what the Scottish right of access law was supposed to stop!
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby WalkWithWallace » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:54 pm

Jeez, I never realised Hopes would suffer the same fate as the popular spots in the Pentlands. :? Poor show from the landowner, I think he will exacerbate problems.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby dickens96 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:43 pm

WalkWithWallace wrote:Jeez, I never realised Hopes would suffer the same fate as the popular spots in the Pentlands. :? Poor show from the landowner, I think he will exacerbate problems.


My thoughts exactly!
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby prog99 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:08 pm

Always done it from the Blinkbonny approach (by bike) so don't know the other approach. There were a few folk parked safely at the end of the road last time I was there.If the Hope Reservoir parking is on his land then not much you can do about it but if he is policing the public road then a different matter.

Have you spoken to the East Lothian Council access officer? I've had a few dealings with him in the past and he's very proactive with access issues and worth talking to.

btw, Is it really that busy. I can count on one hand the number of folk I've seen there and I think that includes the landowner if who I saw in a large white suv is who I think it was.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby Glengavel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:44 am

dickens96 wrote:The landowner - Robbie Douglas-Miller - has decided to close the access to the small car park by the filter houses on the way to Hopes reservoir and then on to Lammer Law etc. He cites car parking issues this Summer - normally it is fairly deserted there - and says he will do some essential work so has closed it from November to February before reopening it with access by permit only "for local people" (like who?) In effect this closes access for many people - me included - to the lovely resevroir and hill walks that start from there. It seems to me a very ill-thought out action. Stopping parking in the car park and field opposite will mean walkers will have to park on the verges which is the very thing he is complaining about. The road in from Longyester is single track with virtually no safe places to park. I know Ramblers Scotland are concerned, but East Lothian Council seem to have acquiesced with this saying there is no responsibility on the landowner to provide car parking. I think they could have asked him to take a more constructive approach and come up with alternative solutions. Already there have been cases of people parking on the verges where they can - safely - and returning to find stickers telling them not to return stuck to their car windows with super glue.

I thought this is what the Scottish right of access law was supposed to stop!


Supergluing notes to windows is vandalism is it not?
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby dickens96 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:43 pm

prog99 wrote:Always done it from the Blinkbonny approach (by bike) so don't know the other approach. There were a few folk parked safely at the end of the road last time I was there.If the Hope Reservoir parking is on his land then not much you can do about it but if he is policing the public road then a different matter.

Have you spoken to the East Lothian Council access officer? I've had a few dealings with him in the past and he's very proactive with access issues and worth talking to.

btw, Is it really that busy. I can count on one hand the number of folk I've seen there and I think that includes the landowner if who I saw in a large white suv is who I think it was.


Yes I've been there a good few times and never seen more than 3 or 4 cars parked in the car park next to the filter houses which I believe belongs to Scottish Water. I don't know what their view is on the landowner's actions. He was quoted as saying that there were over a hundred cars there one day in the Summer - I don't know whether that was the case or not but it seems unlikely as the car park only takes 7 or 8 cars and the open ground opposite not more than 20 or so.

Ramblers Scotland are dealing with ELC to find a better solution than the permit system the landowner is suggesting I believe.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby thedonalds » Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:24 am

Historically, East Lothian landowners have never been exactly welcoming to the general public and this smacks of what one might call the “bad old days”. The Land Reform Act does not cover motorised vehicles but maintaining good access to get to the great outdoors is important for everyone but of course those using the said access must do so responsibly and during the Covid period its clear that some people have not been doing the right thing. There’s plenty of press reports highlighting examples of bad and thoughtless parking from many parts of outdoor Scotland.

I have walked this area often over the years and prior to the construction of the current car parking area by the filter beds, parking was available at the turning circle and road verge just before the Scottish Water buildings. The introduction of the new parking area a few years ago was most welcome and it is unfortunate that due to an apparent fit of pique brought on by the busy Covid period it seems that the land owner is now attempting to restrict access. This will not go down at all well with anyone, local or not.

As others have noted parking at Hopes has never been a big problem so my hope is that when things settle down and the very considerable pressures on local outdoor spaces that have been directly caused by the Scottish Government’s Covid travel restrictions are lifted then the estate will see sense and let things return to how they were. Its in no-one’s interest to go to war over this especially as it appears that in the years ahead farming subsidies are likely to be linked with the provision of environmental and public access improvements.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby sbmcd » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:03 am

After a bit of searching I have found that Hopes reservoir car park is planned to re open on 13 April with parking by permit obtained at the cost of £5 from the post office in Gifford. We did visit while the car park work was being undertaken (just for a look) the new car park area is a big area so plenty capacity I would have thought.

Screenshot is from Hopes Estate FB page
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby dickens96 » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:55 pm

Yes - please see my earlier update post on this. I have been in touch with Ramblers Scotland and they are concerned about this restriction of access and will be taking it up with the East Lothian Access Officer in the hope that ELc might be able to get the estate to see sense. The public response via the Estate Facebook page is overwhelmingly negative apart fom the odd comment from people who seem to have some connection with the estate. One of them said it was being closed on saturdays for safety when they were shooting. Does that mean they've been operating unsafely on Saturdays for the last number of years when the car park was open? If so I wonder what HSE would make of that. Maybe we could ask to see the risk assessment that suggests Saturday - and evening - closure?
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby dickens96 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:34 pm

The estate Facebook page seems to have been taken down - possibly because of all the overwhelmingly negative comments about the restricted opening hours made on the post quoted above. I am still bemused at the stupidity of the opening hours offered - they are storing up issues as people will then have little alternative but to park on the verges. As far as I am aware it is a public road as far as the new gate, so there is nothing to stop people doing just that. I understand from ELC that they are monitoring if any obstructions have been placed on the verges. I also read a comment somewhere that someone had gone to park there and had been told to get a permit. When they went to the shop in Gifford it seems only 20 permits had been delivered and they were all gone! Possibly another attempt by the estate to restrict access?
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby thedonalds » Wed May 19, 2021 4:41 pm

There's a couple of letters in the East Lothian Courier about the parking at Hopes that are worth reading;
https://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/19256240.letter-week-access-issues-hopes-estate/?ref=ar

Also vehicle access has also been prevented to another popular East Lothian walking area at Saltoun Big Wood at East Saltoun. See https://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/18935486.letter-week-concern-access-woods-west-saltoun/ This happened towards the end of 2020. Something of a pattern here........

East Saltoun Access
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby Gigha » Thu May 20, 2021 11:07 am

I cycled up to the Hopes reservoir last week, there were no cars in the new car park and no sign of any walkers on the track up to the reservoir. At this time of year would normally be dozens of walkers in this area, all very depressing.

Most people in the past used to park in front of the water treatment plant filter beds, that area is now plastered with "No Parking Scottish Water vehicles only" signs. The estate have also been moving fences to limit verge parking, and where that was not possible they have installed posts and placed boulders to make verge parking almost impossible.

I have no doubt that there were many weekends last year, when there were hundreds of people trying to park up there, causing chaos in the process. The same though could be said of just about every rural and coastal car park in the county if not the whole country.

While the estate have kept within the letter of the law, I personally think their actions are deplorable and certainly not within the spirit of the Land Reform Scotland Act. They will probably be feeling quite smug with themselves that they have effectively stopped people from easily accessing their estate. It is certainly not a revenue generating scheme as they only make 12 car passes available a month, it pains me to say this, but would have been better if they had put a pay and display system in place.

Short of mass drive / walk ins to disrupt the estate, I am not certain there is much that can be done to overcome this.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby thedonalds » Thu May 20, 2021 11:32 am

The article in the East Lothian Courier includes a response from a spokesperson for East Lothian Council who indicated that the council will investigate the allegations of ‘blocking’ (of the public road) near the Hopes access. I wonder if anything will come of this? Not that I can see East Lothian Council raising a fuss with a big local landowner. Maybe resolving the access problem should be a task for the new East Lothian MSP, Paul McLennan, which would show his constituents that he is actually working for them.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby dickens96 » Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:02 am

An interesting letter in this week's East Lothian Courier. The writer has been in touch with lawyers for Scottish Water who own the small car park at the filter house that was always available for walkers to use. It seems Scottish Water are happy for people to still use that car park providing that they do not obstruct any Scottish water access or vehicles. The Hopes Estate do not control access to that car park and do not own it, so any signage from them that indicates anything else can be ignored.
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Re: Closure of Hopes Reservoir car park, East Lothian

Postby thedonalds » Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:18 pm

Dickens96 - Regarding the letter in the East Lothian Courier with the comment from Scottish Water - could you post a link to it please? Cant seem to track it down online, many thanks.
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