Poll shows overwhelming support

Dr Lindsay Neil in the pop-up shop just before the accident.
Dr Lindsay Neil in the pop-up shop just before the accident.

Selkirk residents voted overwhelmingly in support of a bypass last Thursday and Friday in a straw poll conducted by the Selkirk Regeneration Company.

Almost 97% of those taking part voted in favour of a bypass around the town.

The poll, held at a pop-up shop in Tower Street, was a response to Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf’s request for more information on how many people want the proposed bypass before committing any Government funds to the project.

The possibility of a bypass being built through Selkirk was first mooted in 1936 as the number and size of vehicles using the main road through the town was deemed to be too high even then.

However, though cars and lorries became larger and more numerous, the issue of the bypass was continually shelved as being too expensive.

But several recent accidents and a visit to Holyrood by the A7 Action Group to meet with the new transport minister two months ago has seen the idea gain fresh momentum.

Of the 582 people who took part in the poll – more than 10% of Selkirk’s population – 563, or 96.7%, were in favour of a bypass and 19 were against it, with one voter being undecided and one form being spoiled.

Regeneration company chief Lindsay Neil sent those figures to the minister, saying: “The result was emphatic support for a bypass.

“There can be no doubt of what Selkirk wants.

“Selkirk’s people can legitimately ask for a better level of safety for its citizens, and the Government transport department needs to be made aware of the facts.

“As if to emphasise the public safety improvement that a bypass would confer, on the Friday, a young Selkirk mother, Kerrie Renwick, was knocked head over heels and injured by the tail end of an articulated lorry negotiating the Tower Street/High Street right-angled bend going south [see story, page 1].

“She was walking quite legally on the pavement with her family and the driver would have been quite oblivious of having hit anyone. The biggest lorries have to use both carriageways and the pavement in order to get round this corner and the driver would have been unsighted.

“Last year, a lady was killed in Selkirk on the A7, and a few years ago, a schoolgirl was killed.

“The danger to pedestrians and local citizens is getting steadily worse, and many incidents go unreported as the traffic volume increases, the vehicles become larger and pollution and danger increase.”