Junction takeover proposal rejected

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A Conservative councillor has claimed there is a “lack of political will” to address safety issues at a notorious road accident hotspot.

But Keith Cockburn’s call for Scottish Borders Council to consider assuming ownership of Leadburn Junction, just over the Peeblesshire county border in Midlothian, have been dismissed as not viable.

“We have enough problems dealing with problems on our own roads,” said Councillor Gordon Edgar, SBC’s executive member for roads and infrastructure.

At last week’s full council meeting Councillor Cockburn, whose Tweeddale West ward includes the junction, wanted to know the result of “before and after” studies conducted by Midlothian Council since a 40mph speed limit was introduced in 2012.

Mr Edgar said these studies were still ongoing, but he confirmed the neighbouring council was “still actively considering additional measures” at Leadburn where the main A703 Peebles to Edinburgh road is joined by the A701 from Dumfries and the A6064 from Howgate.

Mr Cockburn, who believes a roundabout is the optimum solution for road safety issues at Leadburn, told him: “I am extremely concerned that Midlothian Council does not seem to have the same level of concern for road safety at the junction as this council does.

“There has been a suggestion raised in Tweeddale that perhaps this council should take ownership of the land at Leadburn and effect a resolution to this longstanding issue. Do you think that proposition viable?.

“No I do not,” replied Mr Edgar. “The junction is the responsibility of Midlothian Council and, as such, you should be putting any pressure to carry out improvements on them.”

After the meeting, Mr Cockburn told the Southern: “There seems to be a lack of political will to deal with the obvious road safety issues at Leadburn.

“Accidents and near misses are still a regular occurrence at this junction and my constituents, who use the A703 and A701 as their main routes to Edinburgh, regularly express their concerns.

“I fully understand the budgetary constraints on local authorities at this time, but we need a long-term resolution.

“Pretending everything is fine at Leadburn or hoping to problem will go away is not the answer.”

In the three years prior to the 40mph speed limit being introduced in 2012, there were 15 reported accidents at the junction, including one fatality.