Gala traders’ roads relief

Traders in Galashiels will breathe a sigh of relief after resurfacing work to two main central shopping streets was

rescheduled for Sundays.

More than 50 local shopkeepers and business owners had signed a letter last week to Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker, pleading with him to find a way of having planned road resurfacing work rescheduled to evenings or Sundays, instead of closing Bank Street and High Street on weekdays as originally planned.

The plea followed the traffic disruption caused last week when emergency repairs had to be carried out to the cast iron gas main at the top of Bank Street, coming as it did on top of on-going roadworks in Ladhope Vale and Winston Road.

That stretch of Bank Street will also have to be resurfaced, along with already scheduled resurfacing to the High Street as part of town centre improvements.

The Scottish Gas Network is also now planning to survey the rest of the gas main along the High Street, so any repairs can be done before resurfacing and avoid the road being dug up twice.

But yesterday came the hoped-for news from Scottish Borders Council that resurfacing work around the town centre will now be done on four Sundays in March, as long as gas survey work does not discover further leaks.

If the specialist sniffer teams do uncover problems, SBC says that could see necessary changes to the works schedule and timetable.

It was Craig Murray, a director of bakery firm, Alex Dalgetty & Sons, which has a shop in Bank Street, who had penned the letter to Mr Parker and which was signed by local businesses representatives.

Mr Murray told The Southern that traders accepted problems caused by emergency gas repairs had been unavoidable, but that traders felt street closures during the working week would be seriously detrimental to local businesses and shops.

Speaking earlier in the week before the switch of resurfacing work to Sundays had been confirmed, Mr Murray had commented on the possibility of such a switch happening: “I’m sure everyone would be absolutely delighted if that was to be the case,” he had said.

Galashiels Chamber of Trade chairman, David Houston, agreed the town had struggled to cope with so many road closures at the same time.

“But they do now seem to be trying to schedule this sensibly. The road surface is falling to bits and needs done, and they are looking to do it properly with better quality bitumen to stop HGVs ripping it to shreds.

“This will all benefit the town in the long term, but in the short term, it means a lot of pain from roads chaos.”