Iris, 74, wins battle with SBC for A68 mobility ramp

Jedburgh resident Iris Hutcheon shows her delight at being able to use the underpass into town after a six-year fight.
Jedburgh resident Iris Hutcheon shows her delight at being able to use the underpass into town after a six-year fight.

Jedburgh resident Iris Hutcheon is one happy lady after her six-year battle to make an A68 underpass disability scooter friendly was finally won.

After countless tangles with Scottish Borders Councillors and officials, who had been insistent that the resultant slope would be too steep, Iris, who stays in Richmond Row, can now pass safely under the busy trunk road to visit the town centre, without having to take a lenghty detour or taking her chances on the main road.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted ... it has been a long, hard journey, but this will make such a difference.

“It’s not only for me, there are lots of other disabled people who will use this ramp, and I have spoken to a few young mothers who are able to take their buggies and prams up and down with no problem.

“I would like to thank The Southern Reporter, first and foremost, as I believe I’d still be trying to cross the A68 now, if it was not for the paper highlighting my plight.”

The 74-year-old’s fight started in 2010, when she complained that disabled people and the less mobile were discriminated against by a decision not to create a dropped kerb on the A68 underpass at Canongate.

The council had declared any work to make it disabled friendly to be unviable as “any new works must comply with current legislation and standards and unfortunately at this location this is not possible whilst utilising the existing underpass”.

However, the local authority relented earlier this year, and put plans in place to design and find funding for the ramp, and works were carried out before Christmas. However, she was unable to use it until last week, as the storm gates at Richmond Row were closed due to high river levels.