Mystery theft leaves last mannequin standing as speed warning in Selkirk

Mystery surrounds the theft of a 6ft-tall mannequin clad in a fluorescent gilet planted in a garden in Selkirk as a warning to speeding motorists to slow down.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 6:26 pm
Lindsay Neil and Vivienne Nash in Selkirk's Hillside Terrace with their one remaining high vis-clad cutout.

Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee last week gave Melrose-based contractor Rural Renaissance the green light to build 13 homes on land to the south east of Selkirk Tennis Club in Hillside Terrace, sparking safety fears among residents there.

Householders living opposite the proposed site have voiced concerns over the safety of the proposed access from the new homes onto the A7 Edinburgh-Carlisle road.

They say they are taking their lives in their hands when driving in and out of their driveways because of motorists going much faster than the 30mph speed limit there.

They are calling for traffic- calming measures, possibly in the form of an electronic flashing speed sign, but to no avail so far.

In lieu of Transport Scotland taking action, one concerned Hillside Terrace resident, Vivienne Nash, decided to take the matter into her own hands.

She had two mannequins made of plywood, dressed in high-visibility yellow jackets, and put them outside her property in an attempt to persuade drivers to cut their speed.

However, in the early hours of last Thursday, one of the figures was snatched, and Vivienne is now considering whether to replace it.

She said: “We have no idea who took it or why. We don’t have any suspects.

“The figures must be about 6ft tall and they are made of plywood with yellow high-vis jackets and with a fluorescent horse-legging wrapped around their heads.

“He was very, very visible, and I have had so much positive feedback from residents in the town, not just in Hillside Terrace, who have said ‘what a good idea’.

“One of the figures was located at the bottom of our driveway so that people coming south-north could see that there was somebody there that was trying to gain access or exit and the other was at the gate opposite our driveway, diagonally across from our driveway, and that was the one that was stolen.

“The fluorescent sign on its head was to alert people that someone was trying to gain exit, in particular, because that’s even more important that access.”

Fellow resident Lindsay Neil, a retired doctor, believes someone supportive of the housing development gaining approval could have snatched the mannequin.

He said: “The mannequin caused some of the drivers to slow down, which helps a lot, but we’re not sure how legal it is. It went up and then somebody came and stole it. We have no idea who. It may have been someone who was keen to see this development go ahead – that can’t be excluded.

“We don’t know if Transport Scotland even came to look at the place to pay a site visit, and the suggestion to the planning committee that they pay a site visit was passed over.

“For 50 years, common sense has prevailed and further access to the A7 has been prevented, and now they are saying ‘let them get onto the A7’. It is an accident that is inevitably going to happen.

“We rely on these people to safeguard our safety and they are not doing their job.

“We have been campaigned for years to get a bypass for Selkirk. If a Selkirk bypass was agreed, all these problems would go away.”

Gavin Yuill, of Galashiels-based Camerons Architects, told councillors last week that careful consideration had been given to sight-lines at the news junction, along with stopping distances along the A7, saying: “Discussions were held with Transport Scotland to determine the layout of the proposed access, and it is their opinion that the junction provides an acceptable access for the site.”