New talks raise hopes of progress on bypass for Selkirk

The A7 going through Selkirk town centre.
The A7 going through Selkirk town centre.

Hopes are being raised of long-running calls for a bypass around Selkirk being looked into further now Scottish Government transport minister Humza Yousaf has agreed to more talks with the A7 Action Group.

Mr Yousaf is to attend a future meeting of the group after being asked to by its chairperson, Rachael Hamilton, also MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire.

Plans for an A7 bypass were drawn up as long ago as the mid-1930s, but a case strong enough to see it included in government infrastructure development programme has yet to be made, and various feasibility studies carried out over the years have ruled it out.

Mrs Hamilton said: “I am grateful to the transport minister for accepting my invitation to attend a meeting of the A7 Action Group.

“I am sure Selkirk will be delighted to present its case for a bypass and discuss the project.

“Selkirk needs a bypass and, as chair, I said I would campaign for its delivery.

“This, I hope, is the first step in seeing it delivered for Selkirk.”

Action group founder and secretary Marjorie McCreadie added: “I am delighted that the transport minister will meet with the A7 Action Group at a date still to be arranged.

“A bypass for Selkirk has long been a priority of the action group, and with this meeting the minister is fulfilling a promise he made to the group at a previous meeting.

“On behalf of the group, I welcome this announcement and look forward to a successful outcome.”

Mr Yousaf has previously said he was open-minded about the case for a bypass carrying the A7 Edinburgh-Carlisle road around Selkirk but would want to see more evidence of public support for such a project before going any further.

He issued that call after meeting members of the group, formed in 1990, in June 2016, and the Selkirk Regeneration Company responded by carrying out a survey the following month indicating widespread support for a bypass.