Continued concern over Gala Black Path

FRESH safety concerns have been raised about a popular Borders walkway, writes Kenny Paterson.

Fears surrounding the Black Path, which runs along the former Waverley rail line now used by dog walkers and cyclists between Galashiels and Tweedbank, were heard at the town’s community council.

Both community council chairman Ian Purvis and fellow councillor John McLaren reported hearing of an anti-social behaviour incident involving a group of youths on the path in recent weeks.

The route has previously been the scene of a number of police inquiries, including an indecent assault on a teenage girl in 2010.

While Sergeant Duncan Marker admitted members of the public had previously shared fears about the route, he now believes it is safe.

He told the community council meeting: “If there are issues we need to know about it, especially with the darker nights coming in.

“I don’t think there is a major problem on the Black Path and it is an area we regularly patrol.

“We did a perception survey around a year and a half ago and there was a lot of concern surrounding the Black Path, and a lot of rumours.

“But since then the council has trimmed back the hedges and a lot of work has been done as part of the railway project to clear the area, which has helped the situation.”

A section of the Black Path will be be required for the new Borders Railway project, but Transport Scotland has promised to work with Scottish Borders Council to compensate for any loss with similar facilities elsewhere.