Huge support reported for Selkirk bypass

Hub in Selkirk, used to be the old Cross Keys pub in the Market Square. L-r, David Bethune, Jenna Agate, Lindsay Neil and Lawrence Robertson.
Hub in Selkirk, used to be the old Cross Keys pub in the Market Square. L-r, David Bethune, Jenna Agate, Lindsay Neil and Lawrence Robertson.

Souters have been flocking to the pop-up shop at 1 Tower Street to give an overwhelming nod of approval to a possible Selkirk bypass.

Dr Lindsay Neil, of the Selkirk Regeneration Company – which has arranged for the shop to be open to gauge opinion on the issue – said: “We have been inundated. Between 9am and noon, we have spoken to 122 people, 120 of whom are for a bypass, while two were against.

“Some people had slight misgivings about diminishing footfall in the town, but other towns, such as Melrose, have found their footfall increasing after a bypass was built.

“Part of the plan of the Selkirk Regeneration Company is to develop the Market Place,

put in more car parking spaces, and basically make Selkirk more shopper-friendly.

“That will be far more easily done if there was less through traffic.”

The issue gained new impetus following the A7 Action Group’s visit to Holyrood last month to meet with Humza Yousaf, the minister for transport.

Mr Yousaf does appear to be more ready to listen to pleas for a bypass than any other recent incumbent, but he has said that before committing the Government to a bypass, he wants to know how many people – from Selkirk and beyond – are actually for it.

So, yesterday and today saw Souters having their say, and the volunteers have been doing their level best to answer any questions people have on the subject.

Dr Neil added: “Selkirk first planned a bypass in 1936, but wars and other events kept interfering.

“Now that we have our own government, and ministers we can speak to, we at last have a chance to get it.

“The big advantages would be public safety, public health, less through traffic and congestion for commuters and locals alike. Most importantly, it would greatly improve the quality of life in the town.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to express their approval as they did, almost unanimously, at the general election hustings meeting, and in the small surveys we have already done.

“Please pop in – we will be there till Friday at 4pm – say you want a bypass (or not), give your name and post code, and we will do the hammering for Selkirk on the doors of Holyrood.

“This is something you can do for the benefit of all Selkirk, but residents of Hawick and Galashiels may also want to give their opinion.

“Anyone willing to help us do this will be most welcome, just front up ... we will need extra hands.”

And if yesterday morning is anything to go by, he may have a point. If you can help out, just turn up at the pop-up shop from 9am today.