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Transport & Railway

A real railway; fast, freight-carrying and through to Carlisle, would be welcomed by the Borders Party, but that is simply not on offer. The proposed line cannot carry freight and takes over an hour to Waverley station. Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, referred to it as “the tram to Gala”.

The effect of the railway would be, as the Tourism Impact Study puts it “… at least three times as many extra houses being built in the Borders” (Tourism Impact Study – part of the Outline Business Case for the Waverley Project).

The Structure Plan identifies the “Peebles/Innerleithen/Central Borders axis”, (what normal people would call the central Tweed valley) for “substantial development … dependent on progress on the railway” (Scottish Borders Structure Plan 2001 – 2011, Principle S3).

The extra 1000 housing units added to the Draft Local Plan will “ensure a continuing commitment by the Scottish Executive to the railway” (Item 2(c) Scottish Borders Council, 16th June 2005).

The Cost

The Strategic Rail Authority recommends that 40% should be allowed for overspend on such construction projects, but Scottish Borders Council has allowed just 4%. As the promoter of the project, the Council is responsible for finding the difference, and a 40% overspend would represent more than £1000 per Borders household.

The Borders Party is the only party opposed to this madness. We will work to expose this extraordinarily successful con-trick, and to put real pressure on decision makers to take account of informed public opinion.

The prospect of the railway has already driven up house prices and increased demand for executive housing, a blow against those trying to get onto the housing ladder.

Councillors of every other hue have applauded the Waverley line and its attendant development. Failure to consult properly on the railway, the biggest project ever undertaken by our local authority, is one of the worst indictments of the 2007-2012 Council.

All the eggs in one basket?

The Borders Railway is being built – at the cost of all other forms of transport and at the cost of every area other than the Gala Water Valley.

The Borders Party is in favour of investing in transport projects that offer value for money and will boost the economy without damaging the environment.

We support re-opening the station at Reston in Berwickshire. At a cost of £2.5 million this is a sensible project that will improve transport options for Borders people and attract business to the area.

An improved, flexible bus service, extending throughout the region, would serve more people better, and at a fraction of the financial and environmental cost of the new Borders Railway.

Scottish Borders Council is responsible for maintaining non trunk roads, village and town streets and their associated infrastructure (lighting, signage etc.). The Borders Party would seek best value in delivering roads maintenance by offering all contracts to competitive tender, ensuring Borderers are served in the most efficient and user-friendly way.

The road network would be divided into several contract areas to enable competitive bidding by local contractors and to encourage ‘competition by comparison’. This process would allow major financial savings, part of which could be reinvested in an improved road network

Tell us what you think

The Borders Party is fully committed to taking the views of Borderers into account, so please contact us and let us have your thoughts on how we can best serve the Borders.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bordersparty.org.uk/key-issues/transport-railway/