Bridge answers demanded

A PEEBLES councillor will demand today (Thursday) to find out the results of the latest stage of a public consultation into a proposed second road bridge for the town.

The findings of the second part of the study – named STAG2 – were due to be released this month to councillors, but so far nothing has been reported.

And Councillor Catriona Bhatia believes it is important for the Peebles public to know which of the eight options the report recommends as being most suitable for the new bridge.

Councillor Bhatia told us: “This issue will affect the lives of people in the town in terms of house prices and quality of life.

“There are eight options on the map so it currently affects many.

“The council, and the people of Peebles, have to decide what they want the bridge for. Is it to take traffic off the High Street or not, bearing in mind we still want trade for the shops?

“Or do we think 50 or 100 years ahead of us and what is best for Peebles’ future?

“Or should it be in the best location to accommodate more housing?”

SBC commissioned transport consultants MVA in August 2010 to look into the town’s transport issues for the medium to long term.

Their initial appraisal recommended reducing the reliance for vehicles on using the Tweed Bridge. A number of suggestions were dismissed, such as a rail link and bypass around Peebles, due to the cost, with the proposals for a new bridge being favoured.

Six possible routes were named, with a further two added after a public exhibition in the Eastgate Theatre a year ago.

The questionnaire discovered that a bridge at the old rail alignment was most popular, although only 169 responses were handed in from a town with a population of more than 8,000.

However, Peebles Community Council has previously said Whitehaugh Crossing was their favoured site, while a ballot by campaign group A Bridge Too Far this year saw 90 per cent of the 300 respondents choose the Cavalry Park area in the east of the town.