I would like to respond to a letter you published on December 27 from Peter Caunt, secretary of the Heriot Community Company.
Firstly, I’d like to thank Mr Caunt and other representatives of the Heriot community for attending the Borders Railway drop-in meeting in November and for their constructive input. The points raised by Mr Caunt have been noted and will be given due consideration as we move into the delivery phase of this project.
During the 12 meetings we arranged along the route in November and December, more than 1,200 people attended. We believe that we have been able to provide some much-needed detail to help people understand the railway plans and we’ll repeat the process in spring when a delivery schedule becomes available and we can answer further questions.
We’re pleased to say that the overwhelming attitude towards the railway was positive, with 80 to 90 per cent of those attending keen to see trains starting to run along the route and enjoy the benefits of rail services.
Unfortunately there are a few locations along the route where the construction of the railway will have significant local impacts – and Heriot falls into that category.
As the organisation tasked with building the Borders Railway, Network Rail is committed to delivering a safe, efficient railway in partnership with the main funders – Transport Scotland – on behalf of the Scottish Government.
We are now entering the construction phase for the project and while we will work with the community to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum, the railway and roadworks were defined in the development phase of the project, during which residents had the opportunity to raise objections.
We will continue to review the details of the local issues raised within Mr Caunt’s letter to allow for the best possible solutions for the railway, the local community and drivers using the A7.
In the meantime, we look forward to beginning delivery of this vital infrastructure project which will provide a much-needed new travel option for the people of the Borders and Midlothian.