Residents air C77 concerns

Site of new thermo heat plant at Langlee, Galashiels.
Site of new thermo heat plant at Langlee, Galashiels.

Residents in the Coopersknowe area of Easter Langlee got their chance last week to air their concerns about Scottish Borders Council’s proposed waste transfer station directly to council officials.

Several of them went along to take the council to task at last Wednesday evening’s meeting of Galashiels Community Council, held in Langlee Community Centre, angry over the resubmitted application to site the station at the site of the current landfill tip.

Chief among their concerns was the fear that the road which an increased volume of heavy lorries would have to take, the C77 to Langshaw, is not fit for purpose, a pinch-point between two cottages meaning two lorries could not pass each other being the main worry.

John Birnie, chairman of Coopersknowe Residents’ Association, said: “The council has made a bad road 10 times worse. They have destroyed it.

“I think they think it is a magic road where you can just keep putting more and more lorries up it and it won’t change.

“The previous planning committee rejected the proposal last time round, and we are at a loss to understand why they are trying this again.”

Mr Birnie also listed problems regarding how the lorries would get to the road in the first place, as Lowood Bridge still has a weight limit on it and, he said: “That would mean the rubbish having to be taken through Galashiels. It’s just not suitable for it.”

And another resident, Norman Young, said he had a problem with spillage from a lorry which had been forced to stop outside his cottage the previous week because there was another coming the other way.

He said: “I was in the garden and I had left my windows open. Some foul-smelling liquid came from the lorry, and by the time I got back to the house to close the windows, it was stinking.

“It took me all day, using fans, to blow the smell out.”

Martin Joyce, director of assets and infrastructure at Scottish Borders Council, said a team had looked at all other options – including placing the station at Charlesfield – but Easter Langlee remained their best choice.

He said: “The problem we face is that the landfill site will be full at the end of 2018, so we have to find a solution.

“We could open another landfill site, but this wouldn’t be a cheap thing to do.

“The other option is to move all the waste outwith the Borders – also very expensive.”

And of the bridge at Lowood, he said: “When the repairs which are being done to the bridge are completed, the weight limit will be taken away.”