Plea for better notice of roadworks in south west of Borders

Newcastleton.
Newcastleton.

Villagers in the south west of the Borders are calling for better co-ordination of roadworks within the region and in neighbouring council areas.

Residents of Newcastleton are calling on council chiefs to put their heads together to give them more warning of impending closures and avoid clashes causing double disruption.

Community councillor Barbara Elborn told last week’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s Teviot and Liddesdale area partnership: “Where we live, we’re at the point of four counties.

“If there’s a road closure to do a road upgrade, we get cut off from the rest of civilisation, and it has an immediate and dramatic effect on the community and businesses of our village.

“Nobody seems to give a damn until it’s too late, when the road is actually closed, and people can’t make alternative arrangements.

“That’s happened twice in the last six months, and it’ll happen again when Dumfries and Galloway Council does a road upgrade and the village will be cut off.

“There has to be joined-up thinking across the county line. Just because we live in some place called the Scottish Borders doesn’t mean it finishes at the border.

“We’re part of a landscape, and the road network goes through it, and there must be some joined-up policy across the network. It’s absolutely critical to our survival.”

As well as being next to the boundary between the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, Newcastleton is also close to the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council, however, confirmed that no cross-boundary authority exists that could co-ordinate roadworks to minimise disruption.

“Depending on the nature of roadworks, sometimes a full closure is required,” the spokesperson said.

“We recognise that this causes an inconvenience generally, and in isolated communities with sometimes limited or no other routes, it has an even greater impact.

“Where cross-border routes are undergoing works requiring closures, we discuss this with our neighbouring authorities and where the type of work or location allows, programme works to coincide, in order to keep disruption as low as possible.

“Closures are published by means of public notice and on the Scottish Road Works Commissioner’s website. They are also communicated in advance to ward councillors and the relevant community council.

“We have encouraged Dumfries and Galloway Council to develop a communication plan to ensure Newcastleton residents are fully informed of the planned works well in advance, by means of letter drop, advanced signing and social media, as well as utilising local networks.”   

Dumfries and Galloway Council was asked for a comment but did not respond.