Group’s coercion is a bridge too far

All six Tweeddale councillors have been subjected to persistent lobbying by a small group of individuals regarding the options for any future new bridge over the River Tweed in Peebles.

These individuals have attempted, by what can only be described as a form of coercion, to force rejection of certain route options for any new bridge.

Worryingly, these people claim some success for their campaign. Needless to say this is before any final recommendations are brought before Scottish Borders Council and any democratic process of discussion and voting on the options has taken place.

Any councillor pre-empting this process by prejudging and making public their opinion runs a very high risk of excluding themselves from decision-making and voting on this issue at any future council meetings.

A site visit has been called to examine all the routes and look at both banks of the Tweed with the senior engineer (strategic planning) at the council’s technical services department. This meeting will take place in August.

We are elected to represent all the people in Tweeddale and, indeed, the whole of the Borders. This fact has to be uppermost in our minds when making decisions that could affect many people and not just an unrepresentative pressure group with a single objective.

In conclusion, we would state that any new bridge has to fulfil the function of bringing benefit, convenience and enhanced safety to the town. In particular, some relief from through traffic in the High Street could be seen as a desirable aim.

Opening up south of Tweed for expansion can not be the sole motivating force for any bridge. This has to be stressed, to gain wide support in the town for this proposal.

Willie Archibald (councillor, Tweeddale West)

Bill Herd (councillor, Tweeddale East)